Daily Bible Nugget #527, Hebrews 5:7

The Nugget:

Heb 5:7  Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

My Comment:

There are now some among us of other religious faiths who try to use Hebrews 5:7 to make false claims about our Lord Jesus Christ.

These individuals ask, “If Jesus is God, how could God pray to God?”

If you are a Christian, can you answer that question? If not, read on!

The Bible teaches that Jesus has always existed as a Person. There was a time before his birth in Bethlehem when he was not yet a man but he existed as a Person.

John the Baptist said:

John 1:15  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Notice that John states:  “for he was before me.”

Yet we know that the birth of John the Baptist took place before Jesus was born to Mary.

So, when John the Baptist states “for he was before me,” John the Baptist must be referring to the existence Jesus had from all eternity past before he became a man when he was born in Bethlehem.

Jesus himself asserted his prior existence:

John 8:58
58  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
King James Version

John 17:5
5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
King James Version

The writer of the book of Hebrews makes a similar assertion:

Hebrews 13:8
8  Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
King James Version

Jesus made the claim that he was seen by Abraham, and that Abraham rejoiced to see him (John 8:56). When we read the account in the Old Testament where this event is recorded in the book of Genesis, we realize that Jesus is claiming to be the Angel of the Lord who visited Abraham. In that Genesis passage, this divine visitor is also called Jehovah.

Jesus was truly a man. He had a human nature. Jesus was also at the same time truly God, and had a divine nature. The doctrine of the two natures of or in Christ is in theology called the hypostatic union.

Individuals from other faiths are probably not familiar enough with Bible doctrine and Christian doctrine to understand these things about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Going back to Hebrews 5:7, I have seen, probably more than once, individuals from another world religion ask “Why was Jesus afraid to die?”

They read that Jesus “offered up prayers” with “strong crying and tears” unto him that “was able to save him from death.”

They argue that Jesus, therefore, never died. God saved Jesus from experiencing death. Therefore, Jesus did not die on the cross. Therefore, it was someone else, not Jesus, who was crucified in his place. Of course the historical record in the Bible does not suggest this at all. The text of Hebrews 5:7 is being woefully misread.

But what about the statement in Hebrews 5:7 that says Jesus was heard, “in that he feared”?

Doesn’t that statement prove (1) his prayer was answered so he did not die, and (2) he was afraid to die?

To suggest this is what Hebrews 5:7 says is to completely misread the text.

The statement that God “was able to save him from death” is stated in the underlying original Greek text that God was able to save him not from (Greek, apo) death but out of death. Thus Jesus went down into death but was saved out of (Greek, ek) it by resurrection. God most certainly answered that prayer, for Jesus arose bodily from the grave on precisely the third day by resurrection just as Jesus repeatedly predicted (John 2:19; Matthew 17:23. Mark 8:31. Luke 24:7. Luke 24:21).

Furthermore, Jesus is not said to be afraid to die.  The expression in Hebrews 5:7, “in that he feared,” is given the alternate translation by the King James Version translators themselves, “or, for his piety.” His piety surely has absolutely nothing to do with being afraid! Later in the book of Hebrews itself we read:

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Note especially the statement, “who for the joy that was set before him.” That hardly reflects any notion that our Lord Jesus Christ was afraid to die for us.

And as for the question, “How could God pray to God?” That is answered quite directly and simply by understanding that our Lord Jesus Christ has two natures:  a human nature and his divine nature. As a true man he was able as man to pray to God. I see no problem with that.

It will greatly help you to grow in your faith if you will take the time to become very familiar with the contents of the Gospel of John! You can learn more by studying the verses related to the questions others are asking by using the cross references and notes found in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury which I often share here.

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Other Faiths, Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, False Religions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Knowledge: His Omniscience and Wisdom

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Knowledge: His Omniscience and Wisdom [Gen. 16:1-15].

Introduction:

1689  Confession of Faith chapter 2:2 states the following about God’s omniscience and wisdom:  “God has all life, glory, goodness, and blessedness in and of Himself. He alone is all-sufficient in Himself. He does not need any creature He has made, nor does He derive any glory from them (Job 22:2, 3). Instead, He demonstrates His own glory in them by them, to them and upon them . He alone is the source of all being, and everything is from Him, through Him and to Him. He has absolute sovereign rule over all creatures, to act through them, for them, or upon them as He pleases. In His sight everything is open and visible (Heb 4:13). His knowledge is infinite and infallible. It does not depend upon any creature, so for Him nothing is contingent or uncertain (Ezek 11:5). He is absolutely holy in all His plans, in all His works (Psa 145:17), and all His commands. Angels and human beings owe to Him all the worship (Rev 5:12, 13, 14), service, or obedience that creatures owe to the Creator and whatever else He is pleased to require of them”.

One wonders what went through the mind of Hagar on the road to Shur (Gen 16:13, 14). She fled from her mistress, Sarai, and turned her face toward her homeland of Egypt. In her womb grew Abram’s son, Ishmael. She was a foreigner, a woman, and a slave—hardly someone whom the ancient mind-set would regard as a likely candidate for  a visit from God. Yet the angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness, told her to go home, and gave her extraordinary promises about her son and his posterity. In response to God’s favor, Hagar called  “Thou God seest me” or “the God who sees” [Elroi] and named the place Beer-lahairoi or “Well of the Living One who sees me” (Gen 16:13, 14).

Hagar’s life testifies to the personal attention that God gives to each human being, regardless of ethnicity, gender, social status, or location. Whoever or whatever we are, God sees us and knows the whole panorama of our life—past, present, and future. He is the all-knowing God, and the doctrine of infinite and exhaustive knowledge of all things helps us to understand and love his sovereignty and compassion.

The messenger who spoke to Hagar is thrice called “the angel of the LORD” (Gen 16:9, 10, 11), and His intervention led to a greater revelation of the “name of the Lord” (Gen 16:13). God’s knowledge is an aspect of his personal lordship. It distinguishes him from pantheistic concepts of an impersonal, unknowing deity and from polytheistic concepts of a local or limited god. Francis Bacon [a scientist, (1561-1626)] said “knowledge is power”. He was expressing the biblical truth that knowledge is an aspect of God’s sovereign ability to act like the working of His power. We read in the Word, “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength” (Prov 24:5; cf. Eccles 7:19).

God speaks of his knowledge to communicate not of mere cognizance but his faithful love. The Bible extols God’s knowledge as the root of his great acts of judgment and salvation. At the same time, we must not reduce the doctrine of God’s knowledge to his power and goodness. Knowledge is a distinct attribute of God revealed in His Word. We will bring three things about God’s knowledge: That is, (1) God’s infinite knowledge, (2) God’s omniscience, (3) God’s wisdom, then (4) Practical Applications of God’s Knowledge and Wisdom.

  1. GOD’S INFINITE KNOWLEDGE:

Our minds cannot fully comprehend or describe God’s knowledge. It is “high as heaven” and deeper than hell’, “longer than the earth” and “broader than the sea” (Job 11:7, 8, 9). Elihu twice said that the mighty Maker shows Himself, “perfect in knowledge”, both in his moral government of mankind and in his natural providence over the weather (Job 36:4, 37:16). The word translated as “perfect” [tamim] means ‘complete‘ or ‘whole’. God lacks no knowledge or wisdom requisite to be perfect King. Shortly after Elihu’s statement, God questioned Job or reminded him how little he understood God’s creation and ways (Job.38-39). Greg Nicholes comments: “In the seasons of perplexity and trial, we should dwell on God’s supreme knowledge. We should compare our knowledge with his until we sense afresh just how little we really know”.

  1. The Display of God’s Infinite Knowledge:
  • Contemplating the universe, or the whole creation, helps us to recognize the immense magnitude of God’s mind. As the Psalmist says, “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them names. Great is our Lord and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Ps 147:4, 5).
  • Exhaustive divine knowledge is inseparable from God’s limitless power [‘great power’], ‘infinite’ translates the Hebrew phrase meaning ‘there is no number or counting’ [eye mispar]. God’s understanding cannot be measured, for it has no quantity or boundary. Therefore, God’s chosen people praise him with confidence that he will restore them (Ps 147:1, 2, 3), and even multiply them as the stars in the sky (Gen 15:5). The Lord knows how to fulfill his promises when it seems impossible to us.
  • Isaiah teaches us that the infinite knowledge of God is an aspect of his incomparable glory. After meditating on God’s sovereignty over the stars (Isa 40:26), the prophet addressed the doubts of Israel: “Lift up your eyes on high and see who created thee? He who brings out their host by number; calling them all by name, by greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing”. Isaiah 40:28 says “have you not known, have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable” [ESV]. God’s people should not be surprised when they cannot understand God’s dark providence, for, as E.J. Young commented, God’s way of bringing salvation displays a wisdom that they “could never wholly grasp”. Yet those who wait on the triune Lord will find his unfailing support (Isa 40:29, 30, 31). God weds his infinite knowledge to his covenantal love for his people. He will come to them both as a mighty king and a tender shepherd (Isa 40:10, 11).

Point:

His knowledge is not a mechanical knowledge that simply stores information and algorithms, but knowledge warmed by sovereign love and steeled by faithful resolve to keep his promise. Therefore, God’s saints should never think that God has forgotten them (Isa 40:27), however much it may seem to him that he has (Ps 44:23, 24, 77:9).

God’s thoughts infinitely transcend ours (Isaiah 55:8, 9):  “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD”. [Isa 55:9] “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” [ESV]. This tells us that God’s thoughts are his mysterious wisdom by which he raises up his people for the sake of his glorious name just as beautiful trees grow out of the thorns and thistles of our cursed condition (Isa 55:13). But if God’s thoughts are so far above ours, how can we know the mind of God? He sends his word, which descends like a rain from heaven to give life and fruitfulness as he wills (Isa 55:10, 11). These words woo sinners to turn back to God (Isa 55:1, 2, 3, 6, 7). Therefore, we encounter God’s transcendent knowledge by his revelations and redemption when it bears fruit in our repentance. Paul compared God’s knowledge and wisdom to a bottomless vault of treasure (Rom  11:33). The “ways” in view here are God’s action of “goodness and severity” toward sinners as he accomplishes “the election of grace” (Rom 11:5, 22). Here again we see that God’s Word couples his infinite knowledge with his activity and love; it is a practical, sovereign knowledge (Rom 11:34, Isaiah 40:3). What fools we are to hope in the wisdom of men! How rash and proud we are to criticize the ways of the only wise God! Calvin said that the worldly mind “improperly subjects his inscrutable counsel to human reasonings, but Isaiah’s words deter us from judging of the unreachable counsel of God”. Job said, “Shall any teach God knowledge?” (Job 21:22). His knowledge is infinitely self-sufficient (Job 22:12).

2.The Divinity of God’s infinite knowledge:

These Scripture testimonies exalt Good’s knowledge far above man’s. Human beings know by a process that involves observation and experience, listening to the words of others, and reasoning in our minds. Our knowledge is limited and waxes and wanes over time. We may contemplate ideas with passive detachment . God’s mode of knowing is very different from ours.

  1. His knowledge is altogether worthy of his divine being and nature. He knows truth. Immediately and independently without any learning process (Job 21:22, Isa 10:13, 14).
  2. His knowledge cannot change and is immutable. It need not change, because God’s wisdom is infinite, always grasping all truth with eternal fullness of understanding (Isa 40:28).
  3. God is light (1 John 1:5). In the Bible, light is often used to represent knowledge, because light reveals things. God does not receive illumination from outside sources, his nature is his own illumination. All knowledge is in Him and radiates from him, either from his essential glory as the triune God or from his will concerning his creation. All our knowledge shines from Him, and our greatest knowledge is to know him (Dan 2:22). David says, “In thy light shall we see light” (Ps 36:9). This is no cold light, but the warm light of overflowing life (Ps 36:9). Divine knowledge is like a bright light of fire, for our God is consuming fire. He revealed and concealed himself through a pillar of cloud and fire. In visions of Revelation, Christ’s eyes are as “a flame of fire” (Rev 1:14, 2:18), the source of light, while our eyes see by receiving light.
  4. His knowledge exalts him, but it does not distance him from his people. Believers cherish his infinite knowledge when he draws near to meet our needs. After meditating upon God’s knowledge of him, the psalmist says “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I count them, they are more than the sand, I awake, and I am still with you” [ESV, Ps 139:17, 18]. “he cried to the Lord”, and when God brought him out of the pit; he said “You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us, I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Ps. 40:5, ESV; 1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9). 


C. 
GOD’S OMNISCIENCE:

God’s infinite knowledge encompasses all reality. Scholars calls God’s exhaustive knowledge of all things his omniscience [Latin ‘omni’ ‘all’ and ‘scientist’ ‘knowledge’]. John writes that God knows us better than we know our own hearts, for “he knoweth all things’” (1 John 3:10). Pink said, “he knows everything; everything possible, everything actual; all events and all creatures, of the past, the present, and the future, he is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth, and in hell— His Knowledge is perfect”.

  1. God’s Complete Self-Knowledge:
  • The greatest object of God’s knowledge is God Himself, the doctrine of divine revelation presupposes God’s self-Knowledge, for God could not reveal himself if he did not know himself. God is self-conscious and speaks in the first person: “I am God” (Isa 45:22). Hoeksema said, “the very act that God reveals himself as “I AM” (Ex 3:14) implies that he is the eternally self-conscious being” (Christ brings this out again in Matthew 11:27.
  • Since God knows himself, he knows all he is capable of doing ,all possible worlds that he might create, and all possible histories his providence might direct. There are many things that God does not do, but could do. He might have sent twelve legions of angels to rescue Christ from crucifixion, but did not (Matt 26:53). He is able to raise up children of Abraham from the very stones but he does not (Luke 3:8).
  1. God’s exhaustive Knowledge of Creation: Let me point out the following:
  • He knows the world that he created. Genesis 1 says seven timers that “God saw” that what he had made was good. After the fall of man, God ‘saw’ the wickedness and evil of mankind (Gen 6:5). He is a great watcher, auditor, and evaluator of all creation. Psalm 33:13, 14, 15 says “The Lord looks down from heaven, he sees all the children of man; [v.14 ] from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth; [v.15] he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds”. The Bible often portrays God’s knowledge by an analogy to seeing, but his is a pervasive and penetrating vision. Job 28:24 says “For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens”; “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account” (Heb 4:13 ESV). God knows reality directly and exhaustively without discursive reasoning or limitation.
  • God’s omniscient knowledge of his creation coordinates with his omnipresence . He knows all things because he is present in all places (Ps 139:5, 9). Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good”. God is the universal eyewitness. As we read in Jer 23:24, “Can any hide himself in secret place that I shall not see him? saith the LORD.

Do not I fill heaven and earth, saith the LORD” [Gill, John: Body of Divinity, 58].

  • He also gives perfect attention to each individual man, woman, and child. David said, “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me” (Ps 139:1). The Lord knows when you sit and when you stand; he knows your travel and your rest, your thoughts and your words (Ps 139:2, 3, 4). There is no place you can escape his knowledge (Ps 139:7, 12).
  • God’s knowledge extends to the smallest details of his world: he knows every bird and beast (Ps 50:11). He hears the cries of these creatures and satisfies them with food (Job 38:39, 40, 41; Ps 104:21, 27). Christ comforted his disciples in the face of persecution by telling them that not a ‘sparrow’ can ‘fall to the ground without your Father’ and ‘the very hairs of your head are all numbered’ (Matt 10:29, 30). He pays attention to minute details of our lives that even we do not know. His Word searches all; all things are exposed before Him (Heb 4:12, 13). Therefore, hypocrisy is stupidity, for the LORD will reveal everything hidden (Eccles 12:14, Luke 12:1, 2, 3). God knows the innermost thoughts and motives of a man. The Lord said to Samuel, “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). He knows the hearts of all men, and thus is eminently qualified to rule and judge the world (1 Kings 8:39). God says to the sinners, “I know the things that come into your mind” (Ezek 11:5). Knowledge of men’s hearts is supernatural and divine: who can know it?, for our true inner-selves are wrapped in layers of deception (Jer 17:9, 10).


Point:

Therefore, God’s knowledge is a powerful motive to repent of sin and seek forgiveness through His blood. There is no other way to escape the condemnation of the all-seeing God. His omniscience is a great comfort to us. God hears our groaning and sees our affliction (Ex 2:23, 24, 3:7). He understands our weakness and responds with tender pity, “for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust” (Ps 103:14). He will never misjudge true saints or falsely accuse them of sins they have not committed. “Shall not God search these out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Ps 44:21); “would not God discover this, For he knows the secrets of the heart” [ESV].Though in this life faithful children of God are “as sheep for the slaughter” (Ps 44:22), they may rejoice that God knows that they belong to him and nothing can separate them from his love (Rom 8:35, 36).

  1. The Omniscience of Every Person of the Trinity:
  • The Lord’s complete knowledge leads us to glorify the triune God with holy fear and confident hope.
  • The Father knows what his children need before they ask him, and this doctrine frees them to seek first his kingdom and righteousness while entrusting all their needs to his care (Matt 6:8, 31, 33. cf. Isa. 65:24). Believers’ greatest ambition is to please their Father, “who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work” (1 Pet 1:17).

As to the Son of God, even in the days of humiliation, Christ exhibited supernatural knowledge of the hearts of men. His apostles confessed to Him, “Thou knowest all things” (John 16:30, 21:17). In Revelation, Christ says to the seven churches, “I know thy works” (Rev 2:2, 9, 13, 19). Christ says in Rev 2:23, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works”. Such knowledge of the hearts is a mark of deity. Charnock concluded, “Jesus Christ is not a mere creature. Christ’s Knowledge of us sharpens the wonder of his love for us, His love is not blind to our sins, He loves his penitent people and desires to commune with them, just as a friend sits at the table with a friend” (Rev 3:20).

Point:

We also worship the Holy Spirit as the omniscient God. The Spirit is not an impersonal force, but a conscious person who speaks in the first person. “The Holy Ghost said, Separate Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). We can depend upon the Spirit of God to reveal to us “the things that are freely given to us of God, for the Spirit searcheth —the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10, 11, 12). The Holy Spirit possesses infinite knowledge of God’s divine nature and eternal counsels.

D. GOD”S WISDOM:

  1. What is God’s wisdom: God’s wisdom is one aspect of his knowledge. Biblical wisdom is knowing how to use knowledge; God’s perfect knowledge is shown by the perfect wisdom displayed in all his works. He is “the only wise God” (Rom 16:27, ESV). God possesses all wisdom and gives whatever wisdom men have (Job 38:36, 37). Job said, “With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding”. 

    What is God’s wisdom [defined and delineated].

What is wisdom? In the Scriptures, wisdom often appears parallel to or correlated with knowledge and understanding. However, the words translated as ‘wisdom’ [Hebrew khahmah, in Greek ‘sophia’] carry the nuance of ‘practical skill’ (Ps 104:24, 136:5). God’s wisdom gives the universe its structure and stability (Prov 3:19) so that wise men and women can study it (1 Kings 4:29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34). The infinite wisdom of the Creator distinguishes him from the false gods worshiped by the world (Isa 10:11, 12).

* God’s wisdom glorifies him as the Lord (Dan 2:20, 21).

  1. God’s Wisdom in Christ [how Christ is the wisdom of God]. 

    a. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of divine wisdom joined to human nature. He is the “Wonderful Counselor” (Isa 9:6), the King of Supernatural insight and extraordinarily excellent plans. He is anointed by the Spirit of wisdom and understanding so that he overflows in the fear of God and executes his righteous will (Isa 11:1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
    b. 
    The Lord Jesus identified himself with the personified Wisdom [Prov 8-9].
    c. God glorified himself alone by hanging his Wisdom on the cross. Though the world looked for divine wisdom in miraculous power or magnificent speeches, God both concealed and revealed  his wisdom “in Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23, 24). For those united  to Christ by God’s effectual calling, “Christ is made unto us wisdom” (1 Cor 1:30), for in Jesus Christ and his church, God has manifested to heaven and earth the unsearchable riches of the wisdom that he purposed before the creation of the world (Eph 3:8, 9, 10, 11).

Conclusion:

What are the practical implications of God’s knowledge and Wisdom for us as believers? Although God’s knowledge and wisdom are infinitely above ours, they have limited but faithful reflection in the image of God in man, especially as it is renewed in Christ (Col 3:10). Therefore, the doctrine of divine knowledge has much practical relevance.

First, seek to grow in knowledge: If God of glory is wise, then it is our glory to receive more wisdom from him. The very ‘angels’ long to look “more deeply into God’s wise plan” (1 Pet 1:12 ESV). Therefore seek wisdom as you would silver, and search for it as hidden treasures” (Prov 2:4).

Second:  rely upon God’s wisdom when you are undergoing trials and do not know what to do. Be often in prayer (James 1:5, Matt 7:11, Prov 3:5, 6, 7).

Third, trust God’s knowledge when you cannot understand his ways: When God’s church seems like a valley of dry bones, and the question comes, “Can these dry bones live?” then say with the prophet, “O LORD GOD, thou knowest” (Ezek 37:3).

Fourth, admire God’s knowledge and wisdom displayed in all his works: Have an eye upon the marvelous beauty and the order of the stars (Jer 51:15). Meditate upon Christ and his cross, and how the foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men (1 Cor 1:18-25).

Fifth, live in sincere piety because God’s eyes are always upon you: We need to remind ourselves every day that his eyes are like flames of fire, and they search our secret thoughts and feelings (Rev 2:18, 23). Cast off all hypocrisy. Set your heart upon Christ as your only righteousness before God. Let the fear of the omniscient God turn you from evil in secret temptation. Charnock said,  It is the language of every sin…. “The Lord sees not” (Ezek 9:9). Aim to please God not just with outward conduct, but in your thought life and your inner spirit (Rom 1:4, 5, 9). Encourage yourselves in the life of hidden devotion and service by the knowledge that the Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matt 6:4).

Sixth, when you are falsely accused of wrongdoing, quiet  yourself  with the knowledge that the Judge of all earth knows all and will vindicate you. Follow Christ, who, when accused and insulted, did not accuse and insult in return, but “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet 2:23).

Seventh, do not succumb in the temptation to believe that God has forgotten you: If you belong to Christ, then your name is written on the heart of your priestly intercessor in heaven (Ex 28:21). He knows your tears, trials sufferings. Therefore, wait on the LORD, wait on his timing, wait on his salvation, wait on his glory, and he will renew your strength (Isa 40:27, 28, 29, 31).  

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God’s Moral Excellence: Love

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Moral Excellence: Love (1 John 4:1-10).

Introduction:

God expressed his ‘goodness’ [tub, Ex 13:19] in a list of attributes that begins “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfastness love” (Ex.34:6, ESV). I will only look at one of the attributes of our God—love. The motive for loving God, is God. No title can be stronger than this. God gave himself to us in spite of our unworthiness, and being God what could he give us of greater worth of himself. Today the love of God is defined in different ways. The world has defined it as ‘a sentimental’ love—or simply God’s love is same as man’s love.

When the Lord says he is ‘abundant in goodness’ (Ex 34:6), the word rendered as ‘goodness’ [khesed] is more often translated as “kindness”, “lovingkindness” (KJV), “mercy” (LXX, KJV), “righteousness” (LXX), or “steadfast love” (ESV). The term [khesed] communicates faithfulness, as in God’s keeping of his covenant of grace, “However, it cannot merely refer to God’s reliability, but includes his kind affection, for he ‘delighted in mercy [khesed]” (Mic 7:18). Therefore, [khesed] is best understood to mean faithful love and affectionate loyalty.

God’s unbreakable husbandly love for his bride is [khesed] (Isa 54:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). His faithful love is the hinge upon which the hope of his people turns when they have broken his law and need his forgiveness (Neh 9:17). It is the greatness of God’s faithful love that enables his people to approach him and worship in his presence with reverent fear (Ps 5:7), and it is the subject of one of the most common refrains of worship in the Scripture, “his mercy [khesed] endureth forever,” literally, “his love is forever”. Whether we consider creation or redemption, all things magnify God’s enduring love (Ps 136) [numerous verses]. His [khesed] is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him (Ps.103:7).

The Old Testament background of God’s love:

a. The Old Testament employs another term for God’s ‘love’ [verb aheb], noun [ahabah], that can be used for human affection for a wife or child, or for loyalty between friends. God’s love is not fickle passion; the Lord loves righteousness and justice (Ps 11:7, 33:5, 37:28, 45:7). Yet his love is merciful to the weak and vulnerable (Deut 10:18).

b. God’s love with sovereign freedom, for his redeeming love is expressed in his election of and covenant with his people. He warns those to whom he had extended outward privileges but who persist in wickedness that “I will love them no more” (Hos 9:15). God’s love for his holiness will be undoing of the unfaithful (Mal 2:11, 12).

Point:

However, in his love God pursues elect sinners as a husband pursues an unfaithful wife to make her his own (Hos 3:1. cf. Isa 54:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). He chooses to “love them freely,” so that their backsliding is healed, his anger is propitiated and his divine vitality makes them fruitful (Hos 14:4, 5, 6, 7, 8). The Lord has loved them “with everlasting love” and says, “I will make a new covenant” with them (Jer 31:3, 31). His love is parental, discipling his children to train them in righteousness. God will dwell with his people in love to their mutual delight (Zeph 3:17). The LXX regularly renders “love” [aheb] as the Greek word [agapao] and on occasion as [phileo].


Agapao
and the related noun agape are the primary terms used in the New

Testament in connection to the great revelation of divine love in Christ. The agape of God is best understood not by lexical distinctions but in usage of the term in Scripture. God’s love is not indifferent to justice, but as we have seen the Lord “loves” [agapao] righteousness and justice. Though God demonstrated his love by sending his Son to die for lawless wicked men (Rom 5:6, 7, 8, 9, 10), the cross glorifies God’s righteousness (Rom 3:23, 24, 25, 26), for Christ bore the curse of the law to satisfy divine justice (Gal 3:10,13). As Leon Morris notes, “though [ agape] does not by definition mean divine and gracious love, it seems that early Christians seized this rare word as the primary vehicle to communicate the love of God-love revealed not so much in the lexical meaning of. a particular word as in the work of Christ” (1 John 4:10).

2. Theological Exposition of God’s Love:

 

Though not generally known as the love chapter, 1 John 4 contains the highest concentration of agapao and agape in the New Testament [used 27 times in vv. 7-21]. In it we see that God’s love is essential to his nature. Trinitarian in its form, active in its display, and free in exercise.

  1. God’s Essential Love:
    1. Love is essential to God. Twice in John’s discourse on love, we find the remarkable statement “God is love” [ho theos agape estin, 1 John 4:8, 16]. What does this mean?
    2. To clarify John’s message, we first need to consider what he does not mean. “God is love” does not mean that ‘love is God’. This error deifies love, so that all warm feelings and even impure lusts are regarded as somehow divine.
    3. Real love hates moral evil and clings to righteousness. God is love distinguishes God’s love from all other love, even godly Christian love in his image, by identifying God’s love with the holy Creator, but leaving the purest human love on the level of the creature. It is also an error to interpret, “God is love” to mean ‘God is only love”—using love as a paring knife to cut away his power, justice, and wrath against sin, leaving only unconditional acceptance and positive regard, what Pink rightly disdained as “amiable weakness and mere sentiment”. Evangelical preachers and theologians do not eliminate divine justice, but they still become imbalanced if they teach that God is primarily love, as if love trumped all other attributes of God. “God is love” and God is “holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:3, Rev 4:8). We must reject the opposing error, namely, that God’s love is only an anthropomorphism, for in reality, he is above all human knowledge. While all our language about God is anagogical, biblical teaching is true analogy, so we can know God in the truths we confess and the life we experience (1 John 4:7, 14, 15, 16).

 

  1. What then, is the true message of ‘God is love’?

A. Love is God’s nature so that no one has a saving relationship with God unless he loves other people (1 John 4:7, 8). John says, “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God is him” (1 John 4:16). Just as “God is Spirit” (John 4:24 ESV) indicates that God’s nature is entirely spiritual and “God is light” (1 John 1:5) tells us that God’s nature is truth and righteousness, so ‘God is love’ tells us of God’s very essence. Love is not merely a relation that God has with those outside of himself, or an activity in which he engages toward his creation, but love is God’s very being.

B. The truth that ‘God is love’ has a significant implication for the doctrine of God.

  • In the simplicity of God’s being ‘without body, parts, or passions. God’s love is not a part of him but all of him. The love of God is simply God loving.
  • Love permeates God’s attributes and harmonizes with them all. His holiness is loving holiness, and his love is a holy love.
  • God is pure love. Just as ‘God is light’ implies that ‘in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), so “God is love” implies that no malice lurks in his being.
  • God’s love is of himself. God’s love does not arise from something outside of him, but is God’s very life, he is love.

    2. God’s Trinitarian Love:

    A. Even prior to creation, God’s love involved relationship and self-giving within the Trinity. John’s teaching that “God is love” comes through the gospel framed by the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Spirit (1 John 4:12, 13). God manifested his love by giving his ‘only begotten [monogenes] Son’ (John 3:16), implying Christ’s preciousness to his Father, the highest price he could pay to demonstrate his love for the world (John 3:16, Heb 11:17). The greatest display of God’s love for us is grounded upon his love for His Son.

    • The Bible emphasizes that ‘the Father loveth the Son’, and this love is the foundation of their partnership in all of God’s sovereign works (John 3:35, 5:20). Christ is God’s beloved Son. The Father “loved the Son before the foundation of the world,” and thus appointed him to his mediatorial glory (John 17:24).
    • The Son has always been with God and was God and is, the only begotten of the Father (John 1:1,18). The father honored the Son to be the “heir of all things,” and the Son is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (Heb 1:2, 3). Paul writes, “All things were created by him, and for him—that in all things he might have the preeminence (Col 1:16).
    • The Son loves the Father, and he shows that love by doing as the Father commands (John 14:31). However, the Bible’s emphasis falls not on the Son’s love for the Father but upon his obedience to the Father’s will (Matt 3:16, 17, 12:18, Mark 1:10, 11, John 3:34, 35).

      3. God’s Active Love: Kindness and Delight:

1.The love of God willingly overflowed outside of his own being in his works of creation and providence, and supremely in the giving of his Son to save sinners (1 John 4:9, 10). Paul writes, “love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on own its way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor 13:3, 4, 5, 6 ESV).
 

Point.  Paul magnifies the love of God by declaring that God loved those whom he saved with ‘great love’ precisely when they were the objects ‘of his wrath’ (Eph 2:3, 4). How could God love people so much that he sent Christ to save them when he was angry enough to send them to the hell that they deserve?

It is false to say that God has only wrath and no love for unconverted sinners, for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” [Tom Nettles denies the free offer of the gospel] (1 Tim 1:14, 15). Neither can we say that God has no wrath toward his elect people prior to their conversion, for they “were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph 2:3). It is misleading to say that God hates the sin but loves the sinner, for David says of God, “Thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Ps 5:5, 11:5).

  1. Augustine noted, “In a wonderful and divine manner, even when he hated us, he loved us”. It is also not the whole truth to say that God is angry with sinners, but loves and forgives them when they trust in Christ, for “he loved us, even when we were dead in sins” (Eph 2:4, 5). Calvin said, “It was then from God’s goodness alone, as from a fountain, that Christ with all his benefits has come to us”.
  2. How, then is it possible that God loved us when he hated us? Paul explains that God saved us because he ‘is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Eph 2:4). God’s saving love flows from the great riches of his glory (Eph 1:18, 19, 2:7). The God who loves the cheerful giver is himself the infinitely cheerful and all-sufficient Giver (2 Cor 9:7, 8). Therefore, he is able to love those whom he hates for their sins, for his love springs from the bottomless riches of his own goodness. Furthermore, God’s saving love flows from his mercy to our misery. Even as he hated sinners for their sins, he loved them as his pitiful creatures. Truly God’s love is a loving benevolence, a compassionate goodwill that pays the highest price so that unworthy sinners may know the riches of his grace.

    D. God’s Free and Sovereign Love:

“God is love” (1 John 4:7); and therefore, he is loving to all: every good gift— cometh down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). God’s goodness is a necessary attribute of his being, and all his works are good (Ps 119:68). Calvin said, “for there is no drop of any goodness, wisdom, righteousness, power, or truth which does not flow from him, and of which his is not the cause”.

  1. God exercises sovereign freedom in how he loves his creatures. He is not like a sun which mindlessly radiates light in all directions; his acts of goodness are those of a personal, intelligent, voluntary agent. The Lord said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom 9:15, Ex 33:19).
  2. Psalms 145:8, 9 speaks of God’s universal goodness in broadest terms to include all creatures as we note: “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works”. This text ties together God’s revelation of his goodness to his people (Ex 34:6), with his generosity and compassion to all creation. Psalm 119:64 says, “the earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy,” or faithful love [khesed, Ps 33:5]. Perkins wrote, “God therefore being faithful Creator, tenderly loves all his creatures. Among them the creatures, however, God distributes his gifts diversely. The Father cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, but he gives far greater value to human beings” (Matt 6:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 10:31, 12:12).
  3. God’s love for his children caused John to exclaim, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God, therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:1, 2).

Practical Implications of God’s Goodness and Love:

Point: God’s goodness and his love is the cause of everything in the world. It is a wide and fertile field, therefore, in which to grow human piety and justice. It is the vital heartbeat of God’s image. Knowing God’s goodness and making it known is the central purpose for which we exit. Therefore, it calls for you to respond.

  1. First, we need to set our mind to know God’s love and engage our powers to make it Those who are wise observe God’s mighty acts in order to understand his lovingkindness (Ps 107:43). This is God’s intention behind his great acts: that people will declare his ‘great goodness’ in a memorable way (Ps 145:7).
  2. Second: have absolute confidence that the Lord is good: trust him and believe that those who trust in such a good God are blessed by him (Ps 34:8). Charnock said “The goodness of God by his promises leads us to reliance. If God be not first believed to be good, he would not be believed at all in anything he speaks (1 John 4:9, 10).
  3. Third: turn from your sins and come to God in repentance: He is good so he will welcome you and teach you his ways (Ps. 25:8). Brakel said “You who need to be convinced of your miserable condition and are desirous to be reconciled to God, be not discouraged from coming to God, you need not to be discouraged if your desire is to approach unto him in truth with sincerity, and in the right way, that is only through Christ. Simply come; the Lord is not merciless, cruel, or pitiless—Just as the father of the prodigal son, the Lord runs to meet all who turn to him from afar’.
  4. Fourth: by faith in his goodness, keep his commandments, trusting that the laws of the good and kind God are for your good (Deut 6:24, 10:13). Believe that ‘his commandments are not grievous’ (1 John 5:3). Pray with the psalmist, “Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statues” (Ps. 119:68). 
  5. 5th, hope in his love in the darkest times. David said, “How long will thou forget me, O Lord? Forever? —–, But I have trusted in thy mercy” (Psa 13:1). Perkins said, “the ground of our religion stands in this; to believe things neither seen nor felt; to hope above all hope, and without hope; in extremity of affliction to believe that God loves us, when he seems to be our enemy, and to persevere in the same to the end” [Vol 5:215]
  6. 6th, ground your confidence in God’s goodness upon Christ. Look to the cross for irresistible proof that God loves us, and when God’s providence hurts you deeply, see in Christ’s hands and his side the marks of his love. Charnock said, “The wounds of the Almighty God for us are a greater testimony of goodness, than if we had all other riches of heaven and earth. In the shadow of the cross, patiently bear your sorrows with confidence that he will give you all good things and works all things for your good” (Rom 8:28, 31, 32).
  7. 7th, love God for His goodness (Luke 7:47, 1 John 4:19). God’s goodness displays his loveliness (Zech 9:17). We must love God, love him above all things and in all (Ps 73:24, Matt 10:27)—we should express our love to him by our care of keeping his commandments (John 14:15, 15:10, 1 John. 2:3).
  8. 8th, receive his good gifts with gratitude and holiness (1 Tim 4:3, 5). If we do not glorify him in his gifts, he may take them back (Hos 2:8, 9). Fear to abuse God’s goodness with ingratitude, complaining, and contempt for the Giver, lest God give you over to inner darkness and depravity (Rom 1:21).
  9. 9th, desire God as your supreme good (Ps 73:25, 28). God is to be desired of all, he is the chiefest good. Mediate prayerfully on the love of God until, as Brakel said “your soul is increasingly irradiated by the love of God to ignite with reciprocal love, so that your heart, no longer covets the love of others and is really weaned from all that appears to be desirable on earth”. 
  10. 10th, imitate his goodness to all things: show kindness even to the plants and animals that God created. Love men, even your enemies (Matt 5:44, 45). 
  11. 11th, love others fervently and sacrificially in the church of Christ (Eph 4:12, 1 Peter 1:22). The gospel both reveals God’s love and enjoins us to love each other as God loved us (1 John 4:10, 11). We have an obligation to “do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Gal 6:10, 1 John 3:17, 18 ESV).
  12. 12th, worship God for his goodness and love. This was the response of Moses when the Lord proclaimed his goodness and the greatness of his love (Ex 34:6). “And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward  the earth and worshipped” (Ex 34:8). “Sing psalms to him, enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations” (Ps 100:4, 5).
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Daily Bible Nugget #526, Matthew 6:13

The Nugget:

Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)

Mat 6:13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (ASV)

Mat 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (ESV)

Mat 6:13 And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (RV)

Mat 6:13 And do not let us be subjected to temptation, but save us from the evil one. (Williams NT)

Mat 6:13 Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. (CEV)

Mat 6:13  Don’t allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one. (GW)

Mat 6:13 And let us not be put to the test, but keep us safe from the Evil One. (BBE)

Mat 6:13 `And mayest Thou not lead us to temptation, but deliver us from the evil, because Thine is the reign, and the power, and the glory–to the ages. Amen. (YLT, Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible)

My Comment:

No single Bible translation fully captures the message of the original Greek New Testament, so I have given nine different translations above, each of which sheds additional light on this portion of the Lord’s Prayer.

This Bible verse was in the news earlier this year when the Pope allegedly approved a new wording for this part of the Lord’s prayer. The issue to be resolved is clear: we know God does not tempt or otherwise lead anyone into evil (see James 1:13). So, to soften the apparent contradiction, solve it by offering an improvement to the wording of the Lord’s Prayer as it was originally given by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whole books have been written on “the hard sayings of Jesus.” I don’t know if they include this one, but it might be a very good candidate for inclusion. I think that Jesus sometimes said things in a way that would force the hearer or reader of His words to think more deeply about what He said.

So, where can you turn for a possible answer to the question that the wording of Matthew 6:13 raises?

I believe you would do well to turn to the information I provided in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge or its most recent sequel, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

Here is a thorough lesson on how to use these resources to get answers to your Bible questions:

Matthew 6:13

lead. FS111, +Gen 18:27, FS121I2, +Gen 2:17, **FS108A4, +Gen 31:7, *Mat 26:41, *Gen 22:1, *Deut 8:2; *Deut 8:16, +*1Ch 4:10, Psa 79:9; *Psa 141:4, *Pro 30:8; *Pro 30:9, Mar 14:38, **Luk 11:4 note. Luk 22:31-46, Joh 14:13, **1Co 10:13, **2Co 12:7, 8, 9, Heb 11:36, 37, %Jas 1:2, 1Pe 5:8, *2Pe 2:9, Rev 2:10; +*Rev 3:10.

In the above set of cross references for the first key word “lead” from the clause “And lead us not,” I have bold faced the reference to Luke 11:4 because there is a note given at that text which is the parallel to Matthew 6:13.

The next step, therefore, is to turn to the note at Luke 11:4.

Luke 11:4  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Luke 11:4

lead us not. FS111, +Gen 18:27, Luk 8:13; Luk 22:40; Luk 22:46, +*Jer 29:11, Mat 6:13; *Mat 26:41, Mar 14:38, **1Co 10:13, 2Co 12:7, 8, **Jas 1:2; **Jas 1:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, Rev 2:10; +*Rev 3:10. There is no suggestion intended here that God might “lead us into temptation.” The balanced sentence employs a contrast, where the first member (“lead us not into temptation”) is employed solely to emphasize the last member (“but deliver us from evil”). For other instances of this construction, see Joh 20:27, Rom 12:21, 1Co 10:24, 2Co 3:6, Eph 5:17, 18, Php 2:4, Col 3:2, Compare +**Mat 24:35 note and 2Ti 1:8 note.

Notice the reference to “The balanced sentence.” When a “balanced sentence” is present in the verse or text you are reading, take note of that construction or you will likely misconstrue the intended message or meaning of the text! This could even lead you to get the message of the verse exactly backwards! I happen to know (since I wrote this book of cross references) that there is another note on the “balanced sentence” at Ephesians 5:18, so I will take you to that note next.

Eph 5:18  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:18

but. FS111, Gen 18:27, “But” marks this sentence as another instance of the balanced sentence (Eph 5:17, +*Luk 11:4 note), where the command of the first clause is used to enhance the emphasis of the last clause. There is no suggestion here on the part of Paul that the Ephesians had a problem with drunkenness. A further careful study of the occurrences of this Figure (see **+Mat 24:35 note) will demonstrate conclusively that the first clause utilizes a statement contrary to fact to emphasize the statement in the clause which follows—here, the command to be filled with the Spirit. Eph 5:17, Psa 63:3, 4, 5, Song 1:4; *Song 7:9, Isa 25:6; Isa 55:1, Zec 9:15, 16, 17, **+Mat 24:35 note. *Luk 11:4 note, Luk 11:13, *Act 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; Act 11:24, *Gal 5:22, 23, 24, 25.

For more information on the “balanced sentence,” I will next take you to the note at Matthew 24:35.

Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 24:35

shall pass away, but. FS111, Gen 18:27, This is most assuredly the Figure Meiosis, also known as Litotes (Luk_11:4 note), involving a Balanced Sentence where the first statement is contrary to fact or reality, and is used in a contrast to most strongly emphasize what is affirmed in the last statement.

In this form of statement the last statement is frequently introduced by the word but, which helps to mark this figure (see Isa 51:6; Isa 54:10, +Luk 11:4).

Scholars can wrangle with my assertion all they please; their contrary opinion only demonstrates they have not studied the Scriptures carefully enough. I have.

Jesus does not, and absolutely could not, affirm that heaven and earth will pass away. The expressions used here are frequently reflected elsewhere in Scripture (see the preceding Parallel Passages).

Surely our Lord Jesus Christ and His Jewish hearers, intimately acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures (T1122, +**Joh 6:14), were aware of the context, for example, of **Psa 102:26 note as seen in Psa 102:28, something apparently missed by some modern scholars.

God’s Covenant Promises are absolutely guaranteed as being more sure than the promise that the earth abides forever and shall never perish, so sure are the sure mercies of David, mercies above and greater than the heavens (Psa 108:4).

Note carefully in the context of Psa 102:26 the statement of Psa 102:28 that the generations of “thy servants shall continue” (+**Psa 72:5) and be “established before thee”—surely the Bible writers (who cite or allude to Psa 102:26)  were most aware of its context and the assurance of Psa 102:28, so when Jesus states “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” His words are the guaranteed words of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants, which are more sure than the heavens and will certainly come to pass.

God Himself appeals to the promised eternal constancy of the universe (Jer 31:35, 36, 37) to affirm the absolute certainty of the “Sure mercies of David” (+**Isa 55:3). To suggest the heavens or the earth shall literally pass away would violate the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant (+**Gen 12:2 note) and the Davidic Covenant (+**2Sa 7:10 note), which would contradict the very character of God Himself (+*Mal 3:6), which is utterly impossible (+**Gen 18:25 note. +*Titus 1:2).

If our Lord Jesus Christ is to rule eternally here upon this earth in Jerusalem on the Throne of David forever over the whole earth (+**Isa 24:23, Dan 7:13, 14, +*Zec 14:9, +*Mat 5:5, **Luk 1:32; **Luk 1:33, Rev 11:15), then the earth as we know it will stand forever (**1Ch 16:30, **Psa 148:5; **Psa 148:6). Psa 58:8; +**Psa 108:4, +**Luk 1:32; +**Luk 1:33.

Additional Bible proof that the earth will never be destroyed but will endure forever is furnished by the text and note at Psalm 102:26.

Psa 102:26  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:
Psa 102:27  But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.
Psa 102:28  The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

Psalms 102:26

They shall perish. This affirmation, frequently echoed elsewhere in Scripture (see the Parallel Passages), as it is generally understood actually means exactly the opposite of what on the surface it appears to say, as the cross references given at Psa 108:4 and Ecc 1:4 absolutely prove. Psa 108:4 unequivocally states “For thy mercy is great above the heavens.” Thus God’s mercy is more sure than the heavens, and Scripture declares that the earth will abide forever and not pass away, as required by both the Abrahamic Covenant (+**Gen 12:2 note) and Davidic Covenant (+**2Sa 7:10 note) provisions. “Mercy” certainly is a reference to the “sure mercies of David,” which by God are guaranteed by the eternal stability of the universe itself (Jer 31:35, 36, 37). To suggest otherwise is to deny the Covenant and the Sign by which God affirms its guarantee of fulfillment. %**Psa 102:28, %+*Psa 89:37; %+**Psa 108:4; %Psa 148:6, Job 14:12; Job 14:18, %+**Ecc 1:4, *Isa 34:4; *Isa 51:6; *Isa 65:17; Isa 66:22, Mat 5:18; +**Mat 24:35 note. **Luk 21:33, *Rom 8:20, **2Pe 3:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 note. +*1Jn 2:17, Rev 6:14; Rev 20:11; Rev 21:1.

Here are the cross references for Psalm 108:4,

Psa 108:4  For thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.

Psalms 108:4

thy mercy. Psa 36:5; Psa 57:10; *Psa 85:10; *Psa 85:11; Psa 86:13; Psa 89:2; Psa 89:5; Psa 103:11, +**Isa 55:3; Isa 55:9, *Mic 7:18, 19, 20, Eph 2:4, 5, 6, 7.

above the heavens. *Psa 8:1; Psa 57:10; Psa 71:19; **Psa 102:26 note. Psa 113:4; +*Psa 119:89; Psa 148:13, +Ecc 1:4, **Isa 51:6, **Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Dan 4:22.

thy truth. +*Psa 89:2; +*Psa 119:89, +*Exo 34:6.

clouds. or, skies. Psa 36:5; Psa 68:34 mg. Psa 89:6; Psa 89:37.

Here are the cross references for Ecclesiastes 1:4,

Ecc 1:4  One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

One generation. Ecc 6:12, Gen 5:3-31; Gen 10:1-32; Gen 11:10-32; Gen 36:9, etc. *Gen 47:9, Exo 1:6, 7; Exo 6:16, etc. 2Ch 6:10, Job 21:33, *Psa 89:1; *Psa 89:2; *Psa 89:47; *Psa 89:48; *Psa 90:9; *Psa 90:10, Zec 1:5, Luk 20:32.

passeth away. Job 14:20; Job 21:33, 1Co 7:31.

but. +Gen 8:22, Psa 78:69; Psa 89:36, 37; **+Psa 102:24, 25, 26, 27, 28; *Psa 104:5; +*Psa 119:90; Psa 119:91, +**Mat 24:35 note. Luk 21:33, Heb 1:11, *2Pe 3:10, 11, 12, 13.

the earth. Gen 1:10; Gen 8:22, *Psa 37:9; +*Psa 102:26 note. Isa 11:9.

abideth. **1Ch 16:30, %+Psa 102:25; Psa 102:26; +*Psa 119:90, Isa 66:22, +*Mar 2:22 note.

for ever. Heb. olam, +Gen 9:12; +Gen 8:22; +*Exo 12:24. Ecc 1:10, Ecc 2:16; Ecc 3:11; Ecc 3:14; Ecc 9:6; Ecc 12:5, **+Psa 72:5; Psa 72:7; Psa 72:17; Psa 78:69; *Psa 89:36; *Psa 89:37; +*Psa 104:5; **Psa 148:6, +*Isa 9:6; +*Isa 9:7; Isa 49:8, +*Eze 37:25.

This post has grown long, but I hope I have furnished you enough tools for Real Bible Study to help you discover some things in the Bible you likely have not understood accurately before.

One last note referred to above at Luke 11:4 is to 2 Timothy 1:8,

2Ti 1:8  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2 Timothy 1:8

Be not. FS111, Gen 18:27; Luk 11:4 note. This is an example of the Figure Litotes: strong affirmation by means of negation, affirmation by negation of the opposite, a kind of understatement or miosis (FS111, Gen 18:27) (see William Hendricksen, pp. 14, 218). Use of this Figure is characteristic of Paul (2Ti 1:12; 2Ti 1:16, 2Ti 2:9, Act 21:39; Act 26:19, Rom 1:16, 1Th 2:1; 1Th 2:3; 1Th 4:13, 2Th 3:13, Tit 1:2; Tit 2:5).

Now you know about several figures of speech used in the Bible and how they clarify the meaning of several very important verses in the Bible, including Matthew 6:13 and the concluding part of the Lord’s prayer.

Posted in Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Sovereignty: An Introduction to His Omnipotence

by Vijay Chandra

God’s Sovereignty: An Introduction to His Omnipotence (Matt. 19:25, 26)

 

Introduction:

No rock could be as hard as the fallen human heart, especially when satisfied with idols. Christ warned that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, burdened as he was by his ‘great possessions’. Jesus’ disciples, disturbed by this saying, exclaimed, “Who then can be saved?”. He replied “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”. The infinite power of God is good news for sinners. Human inability to save ourselves and hostility to the claims of Christ cannot stop the Savior from rescuing those whom he wills, in his great love to deliver from their sins.

 

God is sovereign, that is, he is the supreme LORD who rules over all. This is one of the greatest doctrines of the Bible, pervading its pages. It is the nourishment root for us as believers, for our piety and comfort and strong foundation of his hope. This doctrine of God’s sovereignty is the most hated, unliked by some believers and unbelievers, because it destroys men’s pride and extols God.

God’s sovereignty has many facets. It resides in his ‘infinite’ divine nature, appears in His decreeing of all things (Gen 1:1-3, 4-6, 7-10), crystallizes in his election of those whom he will save by Christ’s grace and in his reprobation of those whom he will damn for their sins, and carries all things along by his works of providence, which are according to his will. The doctrine of God’s decree, election, reprobation, and providence will each require further attention but not now. Here we just want to offer an introduction to God’s sovereignty as one of the excellencies of his lordship.

A. OPPOSITON TO DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY:

  1. God calls his people to be his witnesses who know and declare to the world his unique glory as the sovereign Lord and Savior (Isa 43:10, 11, 12, 13). Spurgeon said “There is nothing for which the children of God ought more earnestly to contend than the dominion of their Master over all creation—kingship of God over all the works of his own hands—the throne of God, and his right to sit upon that throne. On other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldlings—men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne.
  2. Secondly: Modern theology severely truncates the doctrine of God’s sovereignty because people assume it hinders love and relationship. [John Cobb and David Griffin] say that God “seeks to persuade” his creatures but “cannot control” [Process Theology]. Another modern liberal, John Sanders, says ‘God’s sovereignty is his freedom to limit his control over significant parts of reality so others can join him in a relationship and partnership’ [The God who is at Risk]. Another liberal, Brunner, said, “God limits himself by creating something which is not himself, ‘a self-limitation of omnipotence’ that springs from the love of God”.
  3. However, the Bible never views God’s creation of the world and its rational inhabitants as a limitation of his being and power. Creation displays his eternal power and confirms his ability to rule the world as he chooses (Isa 37:15-26, 44:24, 25, 26, 27, 28; Jer 32:17).

Point:

God has unlimited power to execute his will in all events. The Lord proclaims, “There is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” (Isa 43:1 ESV). Isaiah was not declaring an ‘abstract deity’ or a tyrannical divine bully, for the Lord who is with his people to save them because they are precious to him (Isa 43:2, 3, 4).

We do not need to set aside sovereignty to affirm love. God’s love is omnipotent to do good to all (Psa 145:6-16).

We must proceed carefully as we contemplate upon this theme of ‘sovereignty of God’. Our hearts naturally oppose God’s sovereignty (Rom 8:7, 8). If the knowledge must illuminate us and then only we will understand as what is God’s sovereignty (Eph 1:17, 18, 19). Then our worship will be effective and God glorifying, then we will be edified by the Holy Spirit.

B. GOD’S NAMES OF SOVEREIGNITY:

  1. One way in which God reveals his sovereignty is in the names that he ascribes to himself in his Word.

    a. The first divine name to appear in Scripture is Elohim—a name used for ‘God’ thirty -five times in the first thirty-four verses of the Bible (Gen 1:1—2:3).

    b. God’s creation of the heaven and the earth presents Elohim as the powerful sovereign, for he made all things and controls them with his mere word, yet it reveals the God of love, who uses his power to give all good things. The occasional use of ‘elohim’ for human rulers shows the terms’ association with majesty and power. This simply means that God of all power (2 Cor 4:6, 7).

    c. The Bible also names God ‘Elyon (Psa 18:13, 73:11], which means ‘Most High’. It is a title of supremacy over the world and implies the victory of God’s people over the world (Ps 83:18; 97:9, Gen 14:18-20, Ps 47:2, 3), the name of him whose power supernaturally worked in the virgin’s womb to produce the incarnate Son of God (Luke 1:35). The “Son of the highest God’ terrified a legion of demons and cast them out with a word (Mark 5:7).

    d. The Lord revealed himself to the patriarchs as El Shaddai – God Almighty (Job 5:17, 6:4,14, 11:7, 13:3, 15:25, 21:15, 20).

    e. Abraham and his offspring also addressed God as Adonai [an intensified form of Adon] which designates him as “Lord” or “Master”. It denotes a relationship of authority, on one hand, and of allegiances and love on the other. When Isaiah reported his vison of the exalted thrice holy King of angels above “the whole earth”, he said, I saw the Adoni (Isa 6:1, 2, 3).

I have taken only some names of the Sovereign Lord to remind ourselves as what kind of God we have. The names of God in their biblical contexts prominently feature his sovereignty. He is the God of creating and controlling power [Elohim], absolute supremacy [Elyon], majestic strength sufficient to keep His word [Shaddai], and supremacy and mastery [Adoni].

Such titles aim to teach us the fear of the Lord. This is the God who inspires both awful dread in his enemies and reverent hope in his servants (Psa 10:16). “God is King for ever and ever” (Psa 24:7-10), “the King of Kings” and a “great king over all the earth” (Ps 47:2). God is the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of Lords” (1 Tim 6:15).

 C. ASPECTS OF GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY:

Sovereignty means supremacy, which involves divine will, authority, and power, for God is supreme over all in his being, rights, and ability to reign and accomplish his will.

 

  1. God’s sovereign will:

It is evident from the Holy Scriptures that God is a ‘voluntary agent’, a personal being of “rational self-determination”. He works intentionally, not mechanically or automatically. He is a wise moral agent who performs praiseworthy actions (Rev 15:3).

  • In the broadest sense, all God’s moral excellencies could be considered under the topic of His will.
  • More narrowly, the divine will refers to the active, intelligent exercise of those moral attributes in God’s choices. As the Lord he ‘chooses” [Hebrew, bakbar, Greek ‘eklegomai’] his holy people, holy places, and holy offices with supreme liberty.
  • God’s choice implies that he selects one possibility and passes by others that he might have chosen (1 Sam 16:10). All the redemptive history flows from God’s choice and reveals the goodness of the God who wills.
  • The great object of God’s will is his glory. As the great ‘I AM” (Ex 3:14), God knows his own infinite greatness and goodness, and he loves himself and delights in his glory. After Paul celebrated the infinite depths of God’s way, he concluded with these words as we see in (Rom 11:36). In all His purposes for the world, he wills the manifestation of his own glory, as the highest end of all things and acts for the sake of same. God’s perfect sufficiency in himself implies that he wills the creation without any necessity (1 Chron 29:11, Acts 1:25). Nothing compelled him or required him to create the world.

    a. What the Scriptures say of God’s will toward his creatures in two distinct senses.

  1. what they should do and what they will do, the first pertains to God’s authoritative regulation and the second to his effective reign.

    a. Seen in Gen 22, illustrates this, God’s command defined Abraham’s duty to sacrifice Isaac, but God’s intention was not that Isaac would die. Rather, the Lord tested Abraham’s godliness to show its reality and strengthen its exercise. God also revealed that he would provide the sacrifice so that the chosen seed could live.

    b. We may also express this distinction, perhaps most accurately, as that between God’s preceptive will and his decretive will.

  • The first describes what God instructs us to do, the second what he has decreed to take place. God’s preceptive will is “the rule of man’s duty”, Gill explains, and, “every sin is a transgression of it”.
  • The ‘preceptive will’. The Bible tells us that we should be “doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:6), for “to do his will” by his grace is “well-pleasing in his sight’ (Heb 13:21). God’s will in this sense is made known for our understanding (Eph 5:17) and his law (Rom 2:18; 1 Thess 4:3; Psa 143:10).
  • By “decreed will’, he wills what shall come to pass in history—God’s plan for his world. God “created all things” and literally, “for the sake of your will they are created” (Rev 4:11; Rom 9:18, 1 Cor 12:18, Eph 1:11).
  • Gods ‘will’ in the N.T is preeminently his plan of salvation executed through the Mediator and lovingly applied by the Holy Spirit to the elect through the preaching of the gospel. This redemptive plan is also called his ‘good pleasure’ [eudokia].

 

Point:

The doctrine of God’s decretive will calls us to submissive trust. We read of God’s servants yielding their aspirations and fears about the future to the Lord’s will (James 4:15, Rom 9:19). This distinction between God’s decretive will and preceptive will guards two great doctrines: God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility (Acts 2:23) and this distinction also has enormous practical value for our lives as believers. We must learn to distinguish between what God will do with our lives and what our duty is toward God. When we pray for God to teach his will we must seek to know our responsibility and be content to leave his plan for our future hidden in the secrecy of his wise decree.

c. God’s Sovereign Authority:

God’s freedom to do with all creatures as he pleases is rooted in the fact that he is the Creator of all things (Ps 24:1, 2). Therefore, God has the right to impose his will both in what he decrees and what he commands (Ps 83:18. cf. Ps 97:9, Josh 3:11, 13, Zech 6:5, Dan 4:35, Isa 29: 16, 45:9).

We should obey God with a profound sense that it is right to command us as he pleases. And we should perform all duties to him with greatest care, diligence and reverence, and in highest degree, love him greatly, fear him greatly, praise him with all our might, yield to him a service proportionable to his incomprehensible greatness.

d. God’s Sovereign Power:

The Lord has infinite power to accomplish all his decretive will and enforce the full rights of his authority.

  1. How he has demonstrated that power?

    a. In the work of the creation (Gen 1:1, 2, 3, Psa 33:6, 9). God’s mere will is powerful and effective, as we see in creation by divine fiat (Matt 8:2, 3). Creation demonstrates the amazing fullness of God’s power. He made the whole universe out of nothing, but as Thomas Watson noted “All the world cannot make a fly. The majestic heavens express only a ‘little of his strength’, and ‘the thunder of his power who can understand?’ (Job 26:14, Acts 17:25, Gen 18:14, Job 42:2).

    b. The Lord Jesus is the embodiment of divine power, the ‘arm of the Lord’ hidden in human weakness to save God’s people (Isa 52:10—53:1-3]. Christ is the divine Son of God, “by whom also he made the world’s”, the Son, who throughout history, has been “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb 1:1, 2, 3). Owen noted, “He who upholdeth all things by the word of his power is God”

(Luke 1:37, Matt 11:5, 20, 23). In the mystery of God’s will, he gave the greatest revelation of his power in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. At Calvary, we find no miracle such as the Jews sought, but, “Christ crucified” is “Christ the power of God” wedded to the exquisite “wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:23, 24), for by shame and pain of the cross, Christ conquered sin and Satan (Rom 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Col 2:14, 15). Though God’s Son was crucified in human weakness, he rose from the dead in “the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4), to live by the energy of the Holy Spirit (Rom 1:4, 8:11], which presently energizes his people to live by faith (Eph 1:19, 20, 21, 22).

Point:

The living God is the mighty King (Jer 10:10). Even if we are in prison, we may exult with the apostle Paul (Eph 3:20, 21). Gill said, “As he is great, his power is great, there is exuberancy [superabundance], exceeding greatness of power in him, beyond all conception and expression”. God’s power is truly infinite. Therefore, we should believe his Word even when it says that God does what man cannot conceive.

 

Practical Application of God’s Sovereignty:

The doctrine of God’s power has nearly as many applications as there are verses in the Scripture. For it fills the Bible from beginning to end. For the sake of the believer’s meditation and spirituality, I will highlight several practical implications of this important truth about God’s power.

  1. First, God’s sovereignty calls us to repentance from rebellion [Job 9:4 says, He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered. Thomas Watson said, “it is better to meet God with tears in your eyes than weapons in your hands”. In fact, it is the most foolish thing in the world to fight against the omnipotent God. The psalmist marveled, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Ps 2:1). Mankind has engaged in an impossible war. Their plots provoke only divine laughter by Christ, derision, and wrath” (Ps 2:4, 5). In the end, rebels will be crushed by Christ as a piece of pottery is shattered by an iron club (Ps 2:9). He will crush you in a moment. Will you not, therefore bow before Him”. If we have repented and have been reconciled to God, let us wage ceaseless war against our remaining insubordination.
  2. Second: God’s sovereignty calls us to trust in the promises; The eye of the flesh cannot see how it is possible for God’s promises to come true but the eye of faith looks to the Lord omnipotent (Gen 18:14, Rom 4:21).
  3. Third: God’s sovereignty calls us to reverent fear (Ps 33:8, 9, 90:11, Rev 15:3, 4).
  4. Fourth: God’s sovereignty calls us to humble We should sing unto the Lord and ‘make a joyful noise’ for he is “a great God and great king above all god’s” who holds the earth and the sea in his hands (Ps 95:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). All creation displays God’s power in order to awaken our adoration. Does your soul desire to praise him for his excellent greatness? Proud sinners do not stoop to praise God, but humbled man acknowledge that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation” (Dan 4:34). Perhaps you are weighed down with troubles, but even there, the godly may say “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21).
  5. Fifth: God’s sovereignty calls us to faithful service: Whatever authority and influence you may have, remember that these are delegated to you from the Lord. God entrusted dominion to mankind as his image (Gen. 1:26)—not as an independent god, but as representative of the Creator. You are a steward entrusted with the Master’s possession, charged to do his will for his glory and your good (Eph 6:9).
  6. Sixth: God’s sovereignty calls us to submission to sorrow. When bad news strikes our families, God’s grace enables us to say, “If it is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good” (I Sam 3;18). God has the right and the power to do with us as he sees best. Bowing before God who ordains good and evil in his righteousness, one finds new hope in God’s mercies and faithfulness (Lam 3:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 37, 38). Believers can rejoice in God’s power, for, as Charnock said, “it is a power in the hands of an indulgent Father, not a hard-hearted tyrant”.
  7. Seventh: God’s sovereignty calls us to have hope for the salvation of others. When we consider the hardness of men’s hearts and their slavish attachment to this world, we may despair of their conversion and cry out, “Who then can be saved?” Christ answers, “With men it is impossible but not with God for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). We must preach this word to ourselves as we look upon the loved ones who seem a million miles from the Lord, reminding ourselves continually that with God all things are possible.
  8. Eighth: God’s sovereignty calls us to boldness in prayer. Paul’s prayers for the spiritual growth of the saints are staggering in their high aspirations, but he reminds us that the Father “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”(Eph 3:20).

 

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #525, Psalm 40:17

The Nugget:

Psalm 40:17  But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

My Comment:

The part of this verse that most impressed me is the statement, “yet the Lord thinketh upon me.” It is good to know that we are not anonymous to God. He knows and cares for each of us individually and specifically.

Using the Bible study method of consulting the cross references for any given verse, I have found that the cross references given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury are especially encouraging and instructive. I share the cross references below for those who are able to take the time to study them.

Psalms 40:17

I am poor. Psa 40:5, Psa 9:12; Psa 9:18; Psa 10:2; Psa 10:9; Psa 10:12; Psa 18:27; *Psa 34:6; Psa 41:1; *Psa 9:29; Psa 69:33; *Psa 70:5; Psa 86:1; +*Psa 102:17; Psa 109:22; Psa 109:31; +*Psa 119:141, *Isa 41:17, *Mat 8:20, *2Co 8:9, +*Jas 2:5.

needy. T1626. Psa 9:18; +*Psa 12:5; *Psa 35:10; Psa 37:14; +Psa 72:12 (T1265). Psa 86:1; Psa 109:21, 22, *Isa 41:17.

the Lord. 1Pe 2:23; *1Pe 5:7.

thinketh. or, will think. Heb. Chashav (S# H2803). FS121C1A, 1Jn 3:1. Thinketh put by the Figure Metonymy (of Cause) for all that the thoughts can devise, plan, or order. Psa 40:5, Psa 32:8 mg. +Psa 35:20 h (devise). Psa 92:5, %Psa 104:34, *Neh 5:19 (T1520). Php 2:9.

upon me. +*Psa 1:6; *Psa 139:1; *Psa 139:2, +*Exo 33:12; +*Exo 33:17, %+**Rth 1:20, =1Ch 16:41, +2Ch 12:8, +*Jer 29:11, *Nah 1:7, **Mal 3:16, Mat 6:26; Mat 6:32; *Mat 10:29, 30, 31, Luk 1:48, Joh 10:3; Joh 10:14; Joh 11:28, Act 27:23, +*1Co 8:3, Gal 4:9, *2Ti 2:19.

my help. Psa 40:13, Psa 22:19; +*Psa 28:7; *Psa 54:4, *Isa 50:7, 8, 9, Act 3:13, +*Heb 13:6.

my deliverer. Psa 18:2; Psa 18:27; Psa 18:48; Psa 31:2; +*Psa 34:17; +*Psa 34:19; Psa 70:5; Psa 144:2.

make no tarrying. +Psa 40:13, Psa 22:19; Psa 31:2; Psa 38:22; Psa 69:17 mg. Psa 70:1; Psa 70:5; Psa 71:12; Psa 101:2; +*Psa 102:2; Psa 141:1; *Psa 143:7; Psa 143:8, Gen 24:56, +2Ki 20:4, Isa 30:19; Isa 46:13; *Isa 62:6; Isa 62:7; +*Isa 65:24, Dan 9:19; *Dan 10:12; Dan 10:13, Hab 2:3, Mat 6:8, +**Luk 11:9; Luk 18:8, Joh 4:49, *Rev 22:20.

O my God. Psa 22:19.

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Daily Bible Nugget #524, Psalm 34:4

The Nugget:

Psalm 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. (KJV)

Psa 34:4 I asked the LORD for help, and he saved me from all my fears. (CEV)

Psa 34:4 I was searching for the Lord, and he gave ear to my voice, and made me free from all my fears. (BBE)

My Comment:

This is yet another Bible verse I have listed in my October 23, 2018 article about Hidden Features in my cross-reference Bible study resources:  The New Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeNelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, and The Ultimate Cross Reference Guide to the Bible.

Compare the three Bible translations of Psalm 34:4 I have cited above. You can easily see the value of using more than one Bible translation to get the fullest meaning from the text of Scripture you are reading.

Another way to dig into the meaning and learn the practical application of the verse you are studying is to consult the most complete source of cross references you can find. Surely anyone who will take the time to do so will discover many rich connections across the whole Bible that illuminate the subjects mentioned in this verse. The cross references for Psalm 34:4 are an outstanding example of the benefits of this Bible study method.

Psalms 34:4

sought. +**Psa 9:10 note. Psa 18:6; *Psa 22:24; Psa 31:22; Psa 63:1; Psa 66:17; *Psa 77:1; Psa 77:2; Psa 116:1, 2, 3, 6; +*Psa 119:10, Gen 32:9, 1Sa 30:6, +*1Ch 16:11 note. *2Ch 20:3, Ezr 6:21, Job 5:8, *Isa 26:9, Jon 2:2, *Mat 7:7, +*Luk 11:9, *2Co 12:8; *2Co 12:9, *Heb 5:7.

he heard. Psa 3:4; Psa 18:6; Psa 22:24; +*Psa 27:7 (T1434). Psa 31:22; Psa 86:7; +**Psa 99:6; Psa 116:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Psa 138:3, +*Exo 3:7, Pro 10:24, +*Dan 10:12, Jon 2:2, *Heb 5:7, +*1Jn 3:22.

delivered. Psa 34:17; Psa 34:19, Psa 4:8; Psa 18:2; Psa 30:1; Psa 32:6; *Psa 50:15; Psa 91:15; *Psa 103:14; Psa 107:19, Gen 33:4, Exo 18:4, +*1Co 10:13, 2Co 7:6, 2Ti 3:11.

me. +**Psa 40:17.

from. Psa 27:1, 2; Psa 46:2; *Psa 56:3; +Psa 118:6, %+Gen 19:30, 1Sa 27:1, +2Ch 20:3 (T1336). +*Job 3:25, +**Pro 22:3, Song 3:8, +*Isa 8:12; +*Isa 12:2 (T814). Isa 66:4, +*Jer 10:5; Jer 41:18, Zep 3:13, Mar 4:40, +*Luk 12:4; +*Luk 12:7, Joh 14:27, Rom 8:31; Rom 12:21, *2Co 7:5; *2Co 7:6, Php 1:20, +**2Ti 1:7, 1Jn 3:21.

my fears. Psa 23:4; +Psa 27:1; Psa 56:3, 4; Psa 64:1; Psa 112:7, +Gen 15:1; Gen 26:24, 1Sa 21:12; 1Sa 27:1, Pro 3:25, Isa 41:10, Dan 10:12, +*2Co 1:4, Col 3:15, Heb 13:6, 1Pe 5:7, 1Jn 4:18.

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Daily Bible Nugget #523, Hebrews 6:12

The Nugget:

Hebrews 6:12  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (KJV)

Heb 6:12 that you be not stupid, but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Sawyer NT)

Heb 6:12 Then you will not show yourselves slow to learn, but you will copy those who, through faith and patience, are now entering upon the enjoyment of God’s promises. (Montgomery, Twentieth Century NT)

Heb 6:12 so that you may not grow careless, but may follow the example of those who through their faith and patient endurance are now possessors of the blessings promised. (Williams NT)

Heb 6:12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises. (NET Bible)

My Comment:

If we are lazy about spiritual things, we risk losing out on inheriting the promises God has given us. I have cited five different English translations of this verse above. Reading and comparing them carefully you will gain additional insight from each one. Which Bible translation should you use? I suggest you use all of them.

Who should we follow? Seek to fellowship and associate with those who are firmly committed to persevere in their faith so that they will inherit the promises God has given for us.

Much more can be said about the message contained in Hebrews 6:12. Learn more by consulting the cross references for this verse as given below from The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Hebrews 6:12

not slothful. or, sluggish. or, lazy. Gr. nōthros (S# G3576, only here and Heb 5:11). *Heb 5:11 g. *Jdg 18:9, Pro 6:6; Pro 10:4; Pro 10:26; Pro 12:24; *Pro 13:4; Pro 15:19; *Pro 18:9; *Pro 24:30, 31, 32, 33, 34; Pro 26:14, Ecc 10:18, +*Jer 48:10 mg. +*Eze 16:49 (T709). Mat 20:3; Mat 20:6; *Mat 25:18; *Mat 25:26, +*Rom 12:11, +*2Pe 1:10.

but followers. or, imitators. Gr. mimētēs (S# G3402, 1Co 4:16). *Heb 12:1; *Heb 13:7, +*Jos 14:8, Pro 2:20, Son 1:8, *Jer 6:16, Rom 4:12, 1Co 11:1, Eph 5:1, *Php 3:17, *Jas 5:10; *Jas 5:11, +*1Co 11:1, *1Pe 3:5; *1Pe 3:6; *1Pe 3:13, 3Jn 1:11.

of them. %*2Ch 13:7, +**Psa 119:63, +*1Co 15:33.

through faith. *Heb 6:15, *Heb 10:36; *Heb 11:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, *Luk 8:15, +*Rom 2:7; *Rom 8:25; *Rom 8:26, 1Co 13:13, Gal 3:7; Gal 3:29; Gal 5:22, *1Th 1:3, 2Th 1:4, 1Pe 1:5, Rev 13:10; Rev 14:12.

and patience. or, longsuffering or patient endurance (CB). Gr. makrothumia (S# G3115, Eph 4:2), the trial of unsatisfied desire (Westcott; %Heb 12:1 note). FS174, +Gen 18:27. T936, Heb 6:15, *Heb 10:35, 36, 37; Heb 12:1, Pro 10:28, Lam 3:26, 27, 28, 29, +*Act 13:43, Rom 2:4; Rom 5:3, 4; Rom 9:22; Rom 12:12, 1Co 13:4; 1Co 13:7, 2Co 6:4; 2Co 6:6, Gal 5:22, +Eph 4:2 g. Col 1:11; Col 3:12, 1Th 5:14, 2Th 1:4, 1Ti 1:16, 2Ti 3:10; 2Ti 4:2, *Jas_1:2, 3, 4; *Jas 1:12; Jas 4:10; *Jas 5:7; *Jas 5:8; *Jas 5:10; *Jas 5:11, 1Pe 2:20; 1Pe 3:20; 1Pe 5:6, 2Pe 1:6; 2Pe 1:8; 2Pe 3:15, Rev 2:3; Rev 14:12.

inherit. Gr. klēronomeō (S# G2816, Gal 4:30). The participle is a strict present. Believers even now enter on their inheritance (see Westcott). Heb 6:17, Heb 1:4; *Heb 1:14; Heb 4:3; Heb 9:15; *Heb 10:36; Heb 11:9; Heb 11:17; Heb 11:33, *Mat 22:32; *+Mat 25:34, Luk 16:22; *Luk 20:37; *Luk 20:38, Rom 8:17, +*Eph 1:11 note, Eph 1:14, *1Jn 2:25, +*Rev 14:13.

the promises. Gr. epangelia (S# G1860, Luk 24:49). Heb 6:15; Heb 6:17, Heb 7:6; Heb 9:15; +*Heb 10:36; +*Heb 11:13; Heb 11:17; Heb 11:33; Heb 11:39; Heb 11:40, Luk 24:49, Act 1:4; +Act 13:22; +**Act 26:6, +*Rom 9:4; +*Rom 15:8, 2Co 1:20; 2Co 7:1, *Gal 3:14; Gal 3:16; Gal 3:18; Gal 3:29.

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Daily Bible Nugget #522, Hebrews 6:11

The Nugget:

Heb 6:11  And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: (KJV)

Heb 6:11 But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, (NET Bible)

Heb 6:11.  We wish that each of you would always be eager to show how strong and lasting your hope really is. (CEV)

My Comment:

The Christian life is not a static thing. We must keep on growing in our faith. Faith comes by hearing and obeying the word of God found only in the Bible. If you are not deeply and regularly engaged in personal Bible study, you don’t know what you are missing! We need to demonstrate diligence and eagerness to grow spiritually in our walk with the Lord.

Notice God’s Word tells us that we may have full assurance. Salvation and eternal life are not a “hope so” matter. You can know for sure in this life that you have the salvation God has promised to those who fully believe in the promises given in His word, the Bible.

There is no reason for anyone to go around moping, feeling stressed, feeling depressed, when the God we serve has given us such precious  promises as these. See this marvelously amplified when you carefully consider the related verses in the Bible pointed to by the cross references given below.

For those who are able to take the time to dig deeper into this verse, here are the more complete cross references I have collected for Hebrews 6:11 as found in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Hebrews 6:11

we desire. or, earnestly desire. Gr. epithumeō (S# G1937, Mat 5:28). Heb 13:17; Heb 13:22, +*Psa 126:6, Mat 13:17, Luk 22:15, Rom 1:11, 2Co 11:28, +*Gal 4:19, *Php 1:9, 10, 11; Php 3:15, +*1Th 3:8; 1Th 4:10, 1Ti 2:1; 1Ti 3:1, 1Pe 1:12.

every one. He is concerned, not only for the body of believers, but for each member (Vincent). %Jos 7:3, +*Psa 40:17, Joh 10:3.

diligence. Gr. spoudē (S# G4710, Mar 6:25). Deut 6:17, Jos 22:5, Pro 10:4; Pro 13:4; Pro 14:23; +*Pro 22:29, Mat 25:17, Luk 8:15; Luk 21:19, *+Rom 12:8 g, Rom 12:11, +**1Co 15:58, +*2Pe 1:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; **2Pe 3:14.

full assurance. Gr. plērophoria (S# G4136, Col 2:2). +*Heb 3:6; +*Heb 3:14; +*Heb 10:22, Isa 32:17, Rom 4:21; *Rom 14:5, *+Col 2:2, 1Th 1:5, 2Ti 3:14, +*2Pe 1:10; +*2Pe 1:11, *1Jn 3:14; *1Jn 3:18; *1Jn 3:19; **1Jn 5:13.

of hope. Gr. elpis (S# G1680, 2Co 3:12). Heb 6:18, 19, 20, *+Heb 3:6, +*Act 26:6, *Rom 5:2, 3, 4, 5; Rom 8:24, 25; Rom 12:12; +Rom 15:4; +Rom 15:13, 1Co 13:13, Gal 5:5, +*Col 1:5; +*Col 1:23, 2Th 2:16, 17, 1Pe 1:3, 4, 5; 1Pe 1:21, *1Jn 3:1, 2, 3.

unto the end. +*Heb 3:6; +*Heb 3:14; Heb 10:32, 33, 34, 35; +*Heb 12:15, Mat 10:22; Mat 24:13, Luk 14:30, Joh 13:1, +*Act 13:43, +*Gal 6:9, 2Th 3:13 mg. *1Pe 1:13, Rev 2:26.

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Daily Bible Nugget #521, Hebrews 6:10

The Nugget:

Heb 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  KJV

Heb 6:10 God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won’t forget the love you have shown his people. CEV

My Comment:

This is a wonderful Bible promise. Read it. Believe it. Meditate on it. Bank on it!

For those able to take the time to “dig deeper,” here are the cross references given for Hebrews 6:10 in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury:

Hebrews 6:10 

God is not unrighteous. Gr. adikos (S# G94, Mat 5:45). Heb 11:6; Heb 12:23, +**Gen 18:25 note. *Exo 1:20, Deut 32:4, Neh 7:69, Psa 41:1, Mat 10:42; Mat 20:7; Mat 25:40, Rom 3:4, 5, 1Co 10:13, 1Th 5:24, 2Th 1:6, 7, 2Ti 1:12; 2Ti 2:13; *2Ti 4:8, **1Jn 1:9.

to forget. Gr. epilanthanomai (S# G1950, Mat 16:5). =Num 7:48 note. Neh 5:19; *Neh 13:14; *Neh 13:22; *Neh 13:31, Psa 18:24; Psa 20:3; +*Psa 37:3; Psa 112:6; Psa 112:9; Psa 125:4, Ecc 11:1, Isa 38:3, Jer 2:2, 3; Jer 18:20, Mat 25:31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, Mar 9:41, Luk 12:6, +*Act 10:4; +*Act 10:31, Php 4:17, 2Ti 1:16, 1Jn 3:19.

your work. Heb 10:32, 33, 34, 35, 36, *Rth 2:12, 2Ch 15:7; +*2Ch 24:10, Isa 3:10, Jer 31:16, Mat 25:17; *Mat 26:13, Rom 2:7, Gal 5:6; Gal 6:4, Php 2:12, +1Th 1:3, **1Jn 3:17; **1Jn 3:18, Rev 2:2; Rev 14:13.

and labour. Gr. kopos (S# G2873, Mat 26:10). Heb 4:11, =Num 4:49; =Num 7:5; =Num 7:6; =Num 18:31, Pro 10:16; Pro 14:23, Rom 16:12, 1Co 3:8; +*1Co 15:58; 1Co 16:16, 1Th 1:3, Rev 2:3.

of love. Gr. agapē (S# G26, 2Co 2:4). Heb 10:24; Heb 13:1, *1Co 13:4. 5, 6, 7; 1Co 16:22, *2Co 5:14, *Gal 5:6; *Gal 5:13; *Gal 5:22, Eph 1:15, Col 1:4, 1Th 1:3, 1Pe 1:22, 2Pe 1:7, **1Jn 3:17; 1Jn 4:20, Rev 2:4; Rev 2:19.

which ye have shewed. Gr. endeiknumi (S# G1731, Rom 2:15). Heb 10:32, 33, 34; Heb 13:16, 2Ki 4:13, 2Ch 24:16, +*Psa 37:21, Pro 14:31; Pro 19:17; Pro 22:9; Pro 28:27, Ecc 11:1, +*Mat 5:7; +*Mat 5:42; Mat 6:1; **Mat 10:42; *Mat 25:35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, Mar 9:41, Luk 6:38, *Act 2:44; *Act 2:45; *Act 4:32; *Act 4:34; *Act 4:35; Act 9:36, 37, 38, 39; Act 11:29, Rom 12:13; +Rom 15:25, 26, 27; +Rom 15:31, 1Co 16:1, 2, 3, 2Co 8:1-9; 2Co 9:1; 2Co 9:8; 2Co 9:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, *Gal 6:10, Php 1:7; Php 4:16, 17, 18, *Col 3:17, 1Ti 6:18, 2Ti 1:17, 18, Phm 1:5, 6, 7, *Jas 2:15, 16, 17, 1Jn 3:14, 15, 16, 17.

toward his name. Heb 13:15, +Psa 20:1.

have ministered. Gr. diakoneō (S# G1247, Mat 4:11). =Num 3:6, Rth 2:16, Pro 14:21; Pro 19:17; Pro 22:9; Pro 31:31, Mat 10:41; *Mat 25:40; Mat 27:55, Luk 3:11; Luk 11:41, +*Rom 12:11; Rom 15:4; +Rom 15:25; Rom 15:31, *1Co 16:15, 2Co 9:6, +*Gal 6:10, 1Ti 3:13, 2Ti 1:18, Phm 1:6, 1Pe 4:10.

to the saints. Heb 13:24, Psa 16:3, Act 9:32, Rom 12:13; *Rom 15:26; Rom 16:2, 1Co 6:1, 2; 1Co 16:1; 1Co 16:15, +2Co 1:1; 2Co 8:4; 2Co 9:1, Col 1:4.

and do. Heb 13:1.

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