Month: July 2021

Seeking Reconciliation – Faith And Salvation

Romans 5:1-11 NIV

Peace and Hope

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 

11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

What Is Peace In The Bible?

What Is Peace In The Bible?

Peace is a popular word a variety of people use in various ways. One everyday use is to represent the absence of war or conflict. For example, when warring countries sign a treaty and are at peace, or when quarreling friends makeup and are at peace with each other.

Peace also refers to rest. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet,” while the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the state of being calm or quiet.”  Such as when describing a place as peaceful or saying your mind is at peace.

However, peace in the Bible is a bit different. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict or state of rest. It means completeness or wholeness, and it points to the presence of something else.

For further understanding of biblical peace, lets’ look at the original Hebrew and Greek words.

Peace in Hebrew

The word peace appears 237 times in the Old Testament with its first appearance in Genesis 15:15 “as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age.”

The Hebrew word translated as peace is shalom (shaw-lome’), and according to Strong’s concordance, it means completeness, soundness, and welfare. It comes from the root word shalam (shaw-lame’) which means to make amends or to make whole or complete.

Shalam is often used in terms of making restitution. Take Exodus 22:4, for example; if a man stole an ox or a sheep from his neighbor, under the law, he was to restore or shalam what he had taken.

Therefore, to have shalom means to be in a state of wholeness or completeness, without any deficiency or lack. Shalom is frequently used in the Old Testament in reference to the wellness of others. Sometimes it is translated as well, well-being or welfare such as in Genesis 37:1443:27Judges 18:151 Samuel 17:182 Samuel 11:7 and more.

In Jewish culture, people used shalom in greeting expressions such as shalom Aleichem which means “well-being be upon you,” or “may you be well.” Jesus and New Testament writers often greeted one another and said farewell with peace (John 20:19).

Peace in Greek

The word peace in the New Testament is from the Greek word eiréné (i-ray’-nay). According to Strong’s Concordance, eiréné means one, peace, quietness, and rest. It originates from the root word eirō, which means to join, or tie together into a whole.

Therefore, eiréné means unity; it is to bringing multiple parts together to form a whole, or set it as one again. For example, two friends who reconcile after a fight make eiréné, that is they come back together, and their relationship is whole.SEE ALSO:  For to Us a Child Is Born

Eiréné first appears in the New Testament in Matthew 10:13 “And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.” It appears 91 other times in the new testament in every book except 1 John.

In some translations, Mark 4:39 says, “Peace! Be still,” but the Greek word used in that verse is not eiréné but siópaó, which means to be silent.

Fun fact, the English word serene, which means calm and peaceful, comes from eiréné.

Putting it all together

The peace of God is different from the peace of the world. Biblical peace is more than just the absence of conflict; it is taking action to restore a broken situation. It’s more than a state of inner tranquility; it’s a state of wholeness and completeness.

Biblical peace is not something we can create on our own; it is a fruit of the Spirit. God is the source of peace, and one of His names is Yahweh Shalom (Judges 6:24), which means the LORD Is Peace. Jesus is the prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He gives us peace in three ways.

1. Peace with God

Jesus is our peace with God (Romans 5:1). Due to our sins, we were enemies of God and were separated from Him (Ephesians 2:13), but Jesus restored our relationship when He took on our sins and died our death on the cross (Ephesians 2:14). He provided a path for reconciliation with God, and now we are joined to God (Romans 5:10) and can fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3).

2. Peace with others

Jesus is our peace with others. In Him, we have reconciliation with others, live at peace with them (Colossians 1:19-20), have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:9) and can live with others in unity and one accord through the bonds of peace (Ephesians 4:3). He empowers us by His Spirit to be peacemakers with our neighbors, friends, and foes.

3. Peace with ourselves

Jesus is our peace within. In Him, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and He is making us whole and complete like Him (Philippians 1:61 Thessalonians 5:23-24). When trials come to tear us apart, He is our peace that keeps us together (John 16:33).

Attributes of biblical peace

The Bible has a lot to say about peace; it appears 329 times in the Bible, with the highest occurrence of 30 in the book of Isaiah. Here are some its biblical attributes.SEE ALSO:  What is Patience in the Bible?

1. Peace is a fruit of the spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:22

2. We must seek peace and make peace

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 34:14

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:18

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Romans 14:19

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

1 Peter 3:11

3. Peace brings joy

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.

Proverbs 12:20

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9

4. Peace comes from God

O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.

Isaiah 26:12

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

5. God gives us peace in trouble

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillippians 4:6-7

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3

The Difference Between ‘Godly’ and ‘Worldly’ Wisdom

Why It’s So Important to Know the Difference Between ‘Godly’ and ‘Worldly’ Wisdom

On October 2, 1950, wisdom quietly announced itself in four hand-drawn black-and-white frames in, of all places, the comic strip section of the newspaper. On that day, the world was introduced to Charlie Brown, the awkward and lovable centerpiece of a group of children (and a dog and a bird) who would charm readers for 50 years as the Peanuts gang.

At the height of its popularity, Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip ran in more than 2,600 newspapers, reaching 355 million readers in 75 countries. What was the secret to its success?

No doubt, the relatable struggles the characters faced and the humor Schultz drew from them appealed to us, but an additional piece of writing genius was at work: Schultz’s children spoke with wisdom beyond their years.

In books and movies, we adore the trope of the wise child. C. S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling have demonstrated the lasting power and appeal of such characters. The idea is intriguing to us because intuitively, we associate wisdom with age and maturity.

Deep wisdom is not the norm among children—it is most often the product of years of learning and experience. When looking for a mentor, no one goes to a pre-school.

Job reflects, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days” (Job 12:12). Think, then, how much wisdom resides in the One who is called the Ancient of Days.

Wisdom is closely related to knowledge but distinct from it. Knowledge is possessing the facts. Wisdom is the ability to achieve the best ends with the facts. Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions based on the knowledge available. The wisest human you know is capable of choosing wrongly, simply because they do not possess all the facts.

Wise humans choose wisely by taking the facts they know and extrapolating the best course of action. Because God is not bound by time, He is able to determine the end from the beginning, acting within time with perfect awareness of all outcomes.

Think, then, how much wisdom resides in the One who holds all knowledge. Because God holds all knowledge, He is able to choose perfect ends.

God, by contrast to you and me, never extrapolates. Possessing all the facts, He combines them with perfect insight, and chooses wisely every time. Wise humans may have their judgment clouded by personal bias, but God is free of that limit as well.

His wisdom is perfect. It is also implicitly good. We may speak of a malevolent person as an “evil genius,” but we do not credit wisdom to Him. Wisdom implies moral goodness, which God possesses in infinite supply.

The paths He chooses are always wise and always good. Though wisdom is a sign of maturity in humans, it is a simple fact in God. He does not grow in wisdom—He is infinitely wise and His wisdom never waxes or wanes.

God understands everything exactly the right way and does everything exactly the right way. He always has, and He always will. His wisdom transcends human wisdom by an infinite distance:

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

WISDOM AND FOLLY Given our relatively limited ability to obtain and retain knowledge, it is amazing that any of us ever receive the designation of “wise.” But remarkably, humans can learn to operate in wisdom if they so choose.

Though wisdom is associated with maturity, it is not a guaranteed gift of the aging process. It is possible to live a life of folly from start to finish. Because we are designed to live in community with others, a life spent in folly always affects more than just the individual who chooses it.

Wisdom is desirable among humans because, in choosing the best outcomes, we look to serve the greater good, not just ourselves. Wisdom aids community. It allows us to live at peace with one another. Folly seeks to serve self alone and pulls the community into chaos.

Folly is the “way that seems right to a man” (Proverbs 14:12). With our usual air for the upside down, we call wise what is foolish and foolish what is wise.

The apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth regarding the tendency to call folly wisdom: “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile’” (1 Corinthians 3:18–20).

We love to deceive ourselves that in choosing self, we have chosen rightly. And we love to deceive others that our choosing of self is actually not selfish. We become wise in our own eyes, as Proverbs says, giving the appearance of wisdom but inwardly desiring the approval of others.

When the Bible makes the distinction between Godly wisdom and worldly wisdom, it is not separating a higher form of wisdom from a lesser one; it is distinguishing between true and false, between wisdom and folly.

Worldly wisdom is not wisdom at all. James writes: Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:13–18).

Note the sharp contrast James makes. Worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom are antithetical and adversarial:
Worldly wisdom self-promotes. Godly wisdom elevates others.
Worldly wisdom seeks the highest place.
Godly wisdom seeks the lowest place.
Worldly wisdom avoids the mirror of the Word.
Godly wisdom submits to the mirror of the Word.
Worldly wisdom trusts in earthly possessions.
Godly wisdom trusts in treasures in heaven.
Worldly wisdom boasts. Godly wisdom is slow to speak.
Worldly wisdom says trials will crush you.
Godly wisdom says trials will mature you.
Worldly wisdom says temptation is no big deal.
Godly wisdom says temptation indulged leads to death.
Worldly wisdom says, “Seeing is believing.”
Godly wisdom says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Worldly wisdom wields might. Godly wisdom works in meekness.

Simply put, any thought, word or deed that compromises our ability to love God and neighbor is folly. Utter foolishness. The height of stupidity. The worldly wise place themselves in opposition to God, operating from their own perspective of what is best, a perspective that seeks only the best for them.

But the same writer who implores us to distinguish and avoid worldly wisdom is also eager for us to know how to possess Godly wisdom. James reminds us that it is ours for the asking: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

This is a stupendous statement. Lack wisdom? Just ask. God will give it. Period. If you find you lack insight and understanding, consider the possibility that you do not have because you do not ask. God waits for your request, eager to grant it.

The Voice Of The Devil

The Voice of the Devil

It’s clear Jesus believed Satan to be a real being—not a social construct or symbolic figure, but a true entity. How much power does he have though? What does the voice of the devil sound like in your head? And how can you silence him?

This is part four of our series on the four voices in your head that are competing to shape what you do, say, and feel.

Who Is the Devil?

Is the devil—Satan—real? Jesus certainly thought so.

There are about 90 references to either the word Satan or devil in the Bible. A quarter of them are spoken by Jesus Christ. They show that Jesus believed Satan to be a real being—not a social construct, not a figurative symbolic character, but a true entity.

In John 8:44, Jesus said to some disbelieving people:

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Look again at how Jesus characterizes the devil: a murderer, no truth in him, lies are his native tongue, a liar, the father of lies. Is the devil—Satan—real? Jesus certainly thought so.CLICK TO TWEET

Elsewhere he is referred to as the accuser, the author of confusion, and the tempter of your soul. All temptation, sin, misery, and futility ultimately originate with Satan, and this world is under his control (1 John 5:19).

The devil wants to destroy what God wants to build. But the devil’s time as ruler of this world is short, and he knows it. The Bible tells us that “he is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12b).

Not only is his time short, but his power is limited: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin (habitual sin); the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them” (1 John 5:18, parenthetic comment added).

Satan’s single pleasure, then, is to figure out how to get inside your head and make your life on earth as miserable as possible.

What Does the Voice of the Devil Sound Like?

Satan’s malware of choice is distrust, doubt, and despair. Once he hacks your brain and loads this malware onto your hard drive, it’s a virus that spreads very quickly and turns into false guilt, false shame, and self-pity.

Satan is always probing for a vulnerability and loves nothing more than leveraging the wounded, broken parts of your story.

For example, my first impulse is to see things through the lens of emotional neglect. I have always found it difficult to believe people really care about me personally, and I tend to look for cues that confirm my distrust. I am loyal to a fault, but once I suspect someone doesn’t really care about me, I’m tempted to abruptly cut them off. “If they don’t need me, then I don’t need them either.”

I no longer act on this temptation because I have matured spiritually, but the devil knows this is my biggest lifelong wound that has never fully gone away. It’s a vulnerability he tries to hack—often in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.

What is the devil’s preferred point of attack to get in your head? Maybe you’re vulnerable to the devil’s voice in your marriage, work, sense of identity, source of worth, children or grandchildren, friendships, past hurts, finances, faith, sinful behaviors, the relevance of Christianity today, church hurts, or parent wounds.

Wherever you are vulnerable, that’s where the devil is most likely to keep inserting those recurring doubts and deceptions.

But you are far from defenseless. Much of the devil’s success can be attributed to how effectively he conceals the ease with which he can be resisted.

Limited Power

As Christians, we should take the voice of the devil seriously, but we also need to understand his limitations.

Satan is not like God. He does not have unlimited power or knowledge. He knows that—if you are in Christ—you have more than enough power to turn him away:

The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Perhaps the devil’s single biggest accomplishment is to have so successfully exaggerated his power. But the truth is, in Christ you are beyond Satan’s reach forever. Jesus is always with you. You are not alone.

That’s your baseline for when the devil’s voice tries to take control of the conversation in your head.Perhaps the devil’s single biggest accomplishment is to have so successfully exaggerated his power.CLICK TO TWEET

A Simple Sentence to Silence Satan

The psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem is a nail.”

When it comes to the voice of the devil, God has not left us with only one tool. He’s given us multiple pieces of defensive armor and offensive weapons, as explored more in The Four Voices.

But there is an additional tool I have used for decades when I sense that the voice of the devil is trying to take control of the conversation in my head, and you can use it, too.

In the wilderness, when responding to all three of the devil’s temptations, Jesus points to the word of God: “It is written.” But in His last response, Jesus adds a verbal rebuke: “Away from me, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10)

In the same way, I verbally rebuke the voice of the devil with this one simple sentence:

“Satan, I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

There is no magic in the exact wording. You can memorize this sentence or make a version of your own. Whichever words you choose, you can silence the voice of the devil by invoking the authority of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I say it out loud, but usually as part of the mental conversation to control what’s going on inside.

When I repeat it, coupled with my understanding of what’s written in scripture, I immediately feel whatever cloud of oppression, confusion, or temptation start to lift.

If you’ve been experiencing oppressive emotions, confusion, or temptation—however deeply the voice of the devil has burrowed into your brain—you can tell the devil to leave:

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8)

THE BIG IDEA: The devil wants to destroy what God wants to build. But the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Question of the Week

What is the devil’s preferred point of attack to get in your head, and how can memorizing the sentence, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” give you the confidence you need to take control?

Unity In The Church – Having Compassion For Others

Romans 12:15 New International Version

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Matthew 23:37 King James Version

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Abraham Lincoln said “I am sorry for the man who can’t feel the whip, when it is laid on the other man’s back!”

World’s Oldest Living Man Knows The Secret To Long Life: ‘Christ Lives In Me’

Emilio Flores Márquez has seen the world morph from buggies and horses to witnessing the birth of the Model Ford T and the birth of the digital age. He’s lived under 21 U.S. presidents and now holds the record of the world’s oldest living man.

Born on Aug. 8, 1908, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Emilio was the second of his parents’ 11 children and his parent’s right-hand man. He helped raise his siblings and learned how to run a sugar cane farm.

Growing up Emilio didn’t have much in the way of material things. But he never noticed because his parents gave him everything he ever needed. A loving home, job skills, and a love for Christ.

World’s Oldest Living Man Shares His Secret

His parents also taught him how to live a life of abundance and it’s not what most people would expect. Some would wager that for a man to live this long, he needs to be on a special organic diet, access to the best doctors, and to have an exercise routine.

But when Emilio learned he now holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest living man, he told them his secret — it’s Christ who lives in him!

“My father raised me with love, loving everyone,” Emilio explained. “He always told me and my siblings to do good, to share everything with others. Besides, Christ lives in me.”

He learned to get rid of the things in life that hold us down. Things like bitterness, anger, and malice because these things can poison us to the core of our souls.

How incredible and simple is this wisdom? God has given us the wonderful gift of his word and through the Bible, we can live a life of abundance in love as we learn to live for Christ! Emilio’s secret to life is incredibly simple: Love God and love others the way Christ first loved us.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

How Can I Know God’s Will For My Life

It is important to know God’s will. Jesus said that His true relations are those who know and do the Father’s will: “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother” (Mark 3:35).

In the parable of the two sons, Jesus rebukes the chief priests and elders for failing to do the will of the Father; specifically, they “did not repent and believe” (Matthew 21:32).

At its most basic, the will of God is to repent of our sin and trust in Christ. If we have not taken that first step, then we have not yet accepted God’s will.

Once we receive Christ by faith, we are made God’s children (John 1:12), and He desires to lead us in His way (Psalm 143:10). God is not trying to hide His will from us; He wants to reveal it. In fact, He has already given us many, many directions in His Word.

We are to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are to do good works (1 Peter 2:15). And “it is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

God’s will is knowable and provable. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” This passage gives us an important sequence: the child of God refuses to be conformed to the world and instead allows himself to be transformed by the Spirit. As his mind is renewed according to the things of God, then he can know God’s perfect will.

As we seek God’s will, we should make sure what we are considering is not something the Bible forbids. For example, the Bible forbids stealing; since God has clearly spoken on the issue, we know it is not His will for us to be bank robbers—we don’t even need to pray about it. Also, we should make sure what we are considering will glorify God and help us and others grow spiritually.

Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult because it requires patience. It’s natural to want to know all of God’s will at once, but that’s not how He usually works. He reveals to us a step at a time—each move a step of faith—and allows us to continue to trust Him. The important thing is that, as we wait for further direction, we are busy doing the good that we know to do (James 4:17).

Often, we want God to give us specifics—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, what car to buy, etc. God allows us to make choices, and, if we are yielded to Him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices (see Acts 16:6–7).

The better we get to know a person, the more acquainted we become with his or her desires. For example, a child may look across a busy street at the ball that bounced away, but he doesn’t run after it, because he knows “my dad wouldn’t want me to do that.”

He doesn’t have to ask his father for advice on every particular situation; he knows what his father would say because he knows his father. The same is true in our relationship to God. As we walk with the Lord, obeying His Word and relying on His Spirit, we find that we are given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

We know Him, and that helps us to know His will. We find God’s guidance readily available. “The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, / but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness” (Proverbs 11:5).

If we are walking closely with the Lord and truly desiring His will for our lives, God will place His desires in our hearts. The key is wanting God’s will, not our own. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Seeking Assurance – Faith And Salvation

Romans 4:1-12 New International Version

Abraham Justified by Faith

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[a]

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”[b]

Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 

11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 

12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

God Does Not Show Favoritism

After hearing a message about correcting injustice, a church member approached the pastor weeping, asking for forgiveness and confessing that he hadn’t voted in favor of calling the black minister to be pastor of their church because of his own prejudice.

“I really need you to forgive me. I don’t want the junk of prejudice and racism spilling over into my kids’ lives. I didn’t vote for you, and I was wrong.” His tears and confession were met with the tears and forgiveness of the minister.

A week later, the entire church rejoiced upon hearing the man’s testimony of how God had worked in his heart. Even Peter, a disciple of Jesus and a chief leader in the early church, had to be corrected because of his ill-conceived notions about non-Jewish people.

Eating and drinking with gentiles (who were considered unclean), was a violation of social and religious protocol. Peter said, “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile” (Acts 10:28).

It took nothing less than the supernatural activity of God (vv. 9–23) to convince him that he “should not call anyone impure or unclean” (v. 28).Through the preaching of Scripture, the conviction of the Spirit, and life experiences, God continues to work in human hearts to correct our misguided perspectives about others. He helps us to see that “God does not show favoritism” (v. 34).

Where Sin Abounds, Grace Doth Much More Abound

…But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. — Romans 5:20

I’ll never forget the time we were being attacked on every side by the enemy. It seemed like an all-out assault had been unleashed against us. At the same time we were experiencing this attack on our ministry, the city where we lived was in political upheaval.

This chaotic situation was so terrible that a bomb was detonated just a two-minute walking distance from our apartment! We could feel our building shake as the bomb exploded. It seemed as if each day was bringing new problems to the nation and more threats to our ministry.

All of this was occurring at a time when the Spirit of God had told us to launch out and take a new step of faith. It seemed like such a wrong time to take such a step of faith. Logic said, “Pull back! Protect yourself! Stop everything until the heat is off!”

But the Spirit of God kept telling us, “Dig in deeper! Keep pressing forward! Don’t let up for one minute! This is a perfect opportunity for the Gospel message to be spread even further!”

Right in the middle of all that chaos, we watched as God poured out His grace on us. Although it was a dangerous and difficult time, it was also a glorious moment to be serving in the Kingdom of God! God began to do marvelous new things in the nation where we lived.

In that troublesome hour, people were open and hungry to know more about the things of God. They wanted answers and were willing to listen. As a result, people were saved; spiritual darkness was pushed back in people’s lives; and the Gospel was spread further than ever before!

As God moved mightily in the nation, that very dark, precarious moment became a spiritually bright time as many were led into the Kingdom of God. This simultaneous operation of darkness and grace made me think of Romans 5:20, which says, “…Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

The word “abounded” that Paul uses to describe this abundance of sin comes from the Greek word, pleonadzo, which simply means more. It denotes something that exists in abundance.

The Greek tense describes an abundance that is growing larger and more expansive with the passing of time. The implication is that sin is never stagnant but continually grows, increases, and expands. This means Romans 5:20 could be translated, “Where sin exists in abundance and is multiplying and constantly expanding….”

This describes the growing nature of unrestrained sin. But Paul doesn’t stop there! He goes on to say, “…Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

The words “much more abound” are from the Greek word huperperisseo, which describes something that is growing out of measure, beyond proportion, and out of its banks to a far-stretched extreme. It is like a giant river that is being flooded with waters from upstream.

Those waters are coming downstream so fast that the river can no longer hold the raging current in its banks. Its water rises, rises, and rises until it finally begins pouring out of its banks and begins to flood everything in sight. This is exactly the idea of the word Paul uses when he says, “…Grace did much more abound.”

This means Romans 5:20 could be interpreted: “For wherever sin exists in abundance and is multiplying and constantly expanding, that is precisely the time and place where grace is poured out in a far greater, surpassing quantity.”

Regardless of where we live and what we are facing — regardless of how bad the situation around us looks to our natural eyes — the grace of God is flowing downstream, and God is lavishly pouring it forth in abundant measure!

In fact, it is impossible for us to imagine, measure, or even dream of the amount of divine grace God is sending in our direction. No banks can hold the flood of grace He is sending our way! It isn’t just “a lot” of grace; it is more, more, more, and much more grace!

The flood of grace will always far surpass the flood of sin and darkness! Satan will try to stop you from doing the will of God, but never forget that the enemy cannot prevail against you if you will only yield to the Lord. You will find that God is supplying more than enough grace to match whatever the enemy is trying to do.

If you will surrender to that divine grace, it will rise higher and higher until it eventually floods every area in your life. Instead of seeing the destruction of the enemy, you will see the awesome outpouring of the marvelous grace of God everywhere you look!

So when a situation looks bad, as it did so many years ago when we were living amid troublesome times in our part of the world, don’t be too surprised if you hear God’s Spirit say, “Pour it on! Keep it up! Don’t stop for a minute! Keep pressing ahead!

It is in dark and difficult moments like these that I love to work the most! This is when My grace super-exceeds the darkness of the world. Wherever sin and darkness abound is where I really pour out My grace!” sparking gems from the greek My Prayer for Today Lord, I thank You for pouring out Your grace in difficult, chaotic times.

When sin abounds and darkness tries to reign, that is always when You reach out to seek and to save. Forgive me for giving way to fear and for thinking of retreating at this key moment when You are wanting to make a strategic advance. I choose to push away all my fears and to believe that You are going to do something miraculous to save the day!

Let Your grace flow, Lord — pour it on! Please shine Your light in this hour of darkness! I pray this in Jesus’ name! sparking gems from the greek My Confession for Today I confess that God’s grace is poured out mightily to drive back the forces of darkness during times of difficulty and chaos.

God uses these dark moments as opportunities to pour out His grace and to show others who He is! The world may reel in fear and uncertainty, but God is always near. I declare by faith that God will reveal His power and intervene with His grace to bring the solution for this difficult hour!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

A Gift To Strengthen You – Faith And Salvation

Romans 1:8-17 NIV

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,[a] that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[b] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[c]

Growing in God’s Grace

The English preacher Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) lived life “full throttle.” He became a pastor at age nineteen—and soon was preaching to large crowds.

He personally edited all of his sermons, which eventually filled sixty-three volumes, and wrote many commentaries, books on prayer, and other works. And he typically read six books a week!

In one of his sermons, Spurgeon said, “The sin of doing nothing is about the biggest of all sins, for it involves most of the others. . . . Horrible idleness! God save us from it!” Charles Spurgeon lived with diligence, which meant he “[made] every effort” (2 Peter 1:5) to grow in God’s grace and to live for Him.

If we’re Christ’s followers, God can instill in us that same desire and capacity to grow more like Jesus, to “make every effort to add to [our] faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge . . . self-control, perseverance . . . godliness” (vv. 5–7).

We each have different motivations, abilities, and energy levels—not all of us can, or should, live at Charles Spurgeon’s pace! But when we understand all Jesus has done for us, we have the greatest motivation for diligent, faithful living.

And we find our strength through the resources God has given us to live for and serve Him. God through His Spirit can empower us in our efforts—big and small—to do so.

Delicious Goat (Mutton) Curry with Indian Flat Bread (Paratha’s)

Easy Goat (Mutton) Curry with Indian Flat Bread (Parathas)- It’s so delicious!

2 lbs. Goat Meat
4 Potatoes
1 Fresh Tomato
2 Cups Broth (goat meat)
2 Tbsps. Yogurt
2 Tbsps. Sour Cream
1 Packet Butter Chicken Masala (spice from Indian store)
1 Large Onion Diced
2 Tbsps. Ginger Garlic Paste
2 or 3 Frozen Parathas

Cook the goat meat in a Pressure Cooker. Fry the Onions till they are light brown, add the Ginger Garlic Paste. Fry for 2 mins. Add the diced tomatoes and the entire packet of Butter Chicken spice, add the broth and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the Sour cream and Yogurt to thicken the gravy.

Add the Goat Meat, thoroughly mix with the gravy, add the billed potatoes and cook on low for 4 mins. Boil the cut potatoes in water for 15 mins. or until they are fork tender. Add the potatoes in the gravy above, and cook on low heat, so all the spice is absorbed.

In a cast iron pan, put 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil, and fry the Parathas on both sides till they are lightly browned.

Giving Thanks – Jesus Teaches About Faith!

Leviticus 13:45-46 New International Version

45 “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,[a] cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Luke 17:11-19 NIV

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Freedom doesn’t give us the right to do what we please, but to do what pleases God!

Dangerous Freedom

Freedom is dangerous in the hands of those who don’t know how to use it. That’s why criminals are confined in prisons with barbed wire, steel bars, and concrete barriers.

Or consider a campfire that is allowed to spread in a dry forest. It quickly becomes a blazing inferno. “Unchecked freedom can create chaos”.

Nowhere is this more evident than in human lives. Believers are free from the law’s curse, its penalty, and its guilt-producing power. Fear, anxiety, and guilt are replaced by peace, forgiveness, and liberty.

Who could be more free than one who is free in the depths of his soul ? But here is where we often fail. “We use freedom’s luxury to live selfishly, or we claim ownership of what God has merely entrusted to us”. We slip into patterns of self-indulgent living, especially in affluent societies.

The proper use of freedom is “faith working through love” to serve one another. When we rely on the Spirit and expend our energies on loving God and helping others, the destructive works of the flesh will be restrained by God.

So let’s always use our liberty to build up, not to tear down. “Like a raging fire, freedom without limits is dangerous. But when controlled, it is a blessing to all.”

– Dennis J. DeHaan “Accept the teaching of the world if hopeless you would be;” “But trust in God’s eternal plan” if you want life that’s free”. – JDB “Freedom doesn’t give us the right to do what we please, but to do what pleases God.”
America The Beautiful

Seeking The Face Of God can Strengthen Our Faith!

His Wonderful Face

My four-year-old son is full of questions, and chatters constantly. I love talking with him, but he has developed an unfortunate habit of talking to me even when his back is turned. I often find myself saying, “I can’t hear you — please look at me when you’re talking.”

Sometimes I think God wants to say the same thing to us — not because He can’t hear us, but because we can tend to talk to Him without really “looking” at Him.

We pray, but we remain caught up in our own questions and focused on ourselves, forgetting the character of the One we’re praying to. Like my son, we ask questions without paying attention to the person we’re talking to.

“What does it mean to “seek God’s face”? It means we turn our hearts toward Him in even the most mundane moments. Sometimes our prayers are answered differently than our asking, but God is faithful come what may. Our Good Shepherd will direct our paths and keeps us in His mercy, strength, and love.

Many of our concerns are best addressed by reminding ourselves of who God is and what He has done. By simply refocusing, we find comfort in what we know of His character: that He is Loving, Forgiving, Sovereign, Graceful.

When we turn our eyes toward the beautiful face of God, we can find strength and comfort that sustain us even in the midst of unanswered questions.

Lord, let the light of Your face shine upon us.- Compiled “Seeking the face of God can strengthen our faith.”

An Amazing Feat – Jesus Teaches About Faith

Matthew 14:22-33 NIV

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 

24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 

30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

As It Was In The Days of Noah

Matthew 24:37-39 King James Version (KJV)

37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Question: “What was it like in the days of Noah?”
Answer: The biblical account of Noah begins in Genesis 6. Approximately 1,600 years had passed since the creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26–27). As the earth’s population exploded in number, it also exploded with evil.

Long forgotten was the righteous sacrifice of Abel (Genesis 4:4) as “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Verses 11 and 12 say, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.”

However, “Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” Gen 6:8

When Jesus described the events that will surround His second coming, He said, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26–27).

Jesus was pointing out that, although the people of Noah’s day were totally depraved, they were not the least bit concerned about it. They were carrying on the events of their lives without a single thought of the judgment of God.

Noah is described as “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Peter 2:5), meaning he had spent years warning his friends and neighbors what the Holy God was about to do. No one listened.

The depravity and ungodly lifestyles of the entire world at that time were enough to cause the Lord to “regret that He had made man” (Genesis 6:6). Many scholars believe that part of the need to destroy every human being except Noah and his family was the sin mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4, when “the Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.”

As evil reproduced and overtook the world, the most merciful act God could perform was to start over. It is interesting that God allowed Noah nearly one hundred years to complete the building of the ark. Through all that time, God patiently waited (1 Peter 3:20).

Scripture seems to imply that Noah preached to the people of that time about what was coming (Hebrews 11:7). They did not believe Noah and were content with their wickedness and idolatry. Their hearts were hard and their ears dull.

No one repented, and no one cared to seek God. Jesus said that the world will be much the same before He returns to set up His earthly kingdom (Matthew 25:31–33). He warned us to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Second Timothy 3:1–4 gives us a clear picture of the state of the world before Jesus comes and most likely also describes the world in the days of Noah. That verse says, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

It is becoming increasingly obvious that, to understand what the world was like in the days of Noah, we only need to watch the evening news.

What Is Idolatry in the Bible? Its Definition and Significance

Idolatry Definition

According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Idolatry is “image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object.” Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Romans 1:21-25: men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (Romans 1:28).

The forms of idolatry are,

  • Fetishism, or the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
  • Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.
  • Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes.

Idolatry in the Bible

In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of Rachel stealing her father’s teraphim (Genesis 31:19), which were the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban’s progenitors “on the other side of the river in old time” (Joshua 24:2).

During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it (Joshua 24:14Ezekiel 20:7). Many a token of God’s displeasure fell upon them because of this sin.

The first and second commandments are directed against idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was devoted to destruction (Exodus 22:20).

His nearest relatives were not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment (Deuteronomy 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned (Deuteronomy 17:2-7).

To attempt to seduce others to false worship was a crime of equal enormity. An idolatrous nation shared the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the punishment of their idolatry, and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to the same cause (Jeremiah 2:17).

“A city guilty of idolatry was looked upon as cancer in the state; it was considered to be in rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death.”

Jehovah was the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state offense (1 Samuel 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites.

The history of Israel is clearly outlined in the Bible. For generation after generation, they repeatedly fell prey to being drawn away from the Lord to serve false gods. This did not only happen to the common people, but to their kings, priests, and prophets, as well. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (2 Timothy 4:4).

The sin of idolatry, or worshiping other gods, is in violation of the Law of God. As a matter of fact, it breaks the first two of the Ten Commandments. It is important to remember that disobedience is the original sin and therefore encompasses all sin. 

I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth (Ex. 20:2-4).

Excerpt from Beware the Sin of Idolatry by Bible Pathway

Quotes about Idolatry

“There is nothing so abominable in the eyes of God and of men as idolatry, whereby men render to the creature that honor which is due only to the Creator” – Blaise Pascal

“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” – A. W. Tozer

“Verily, we know not what an evil it is to indulge ourselves, and to make an idol of our will.” – Samuel Rutherford

“You don’t have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol.” – Dwight L. Moody

“As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.” – A. B. Simpson

Bible Verses about Idolatry

  • 1 Corinthians 10:7-14 – Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
  • 1 John 5:21 – Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
  • Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
  • Isaiah 45:20 – “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
  • Jonah 2:8 – “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.

All You Need Is Love!!

What Is Love?

Jesus is the reason we even know what love is. In laying down His life for us, He taught us everything we need to know about true love. Love is self-sacrificing, generous, unending, not a temporary feeling or attraction. Because of God’s love for the world, we know love is also undeserving and often unreciprocated.

Greek Definitions of Love

The ancient Greeks had anywhere between four and eight different words for love (depending on the source):

– Storge: affection

– Philia or Phileo: friendship 

– Eros: sexual, erotic

– Agape: unconditional, divine, selfless

– Ludus: flirtatious, playful, casual, uncommitted

– Pragma: committed, long-standing

– Philautia: self-love

– Mania: obsessive, possessive, addictive, dependent

Love is and always has been a complex concept. Is it an emotion, a state of being, a choice, an ability, a gift, a force, or all of the above?

English Definition of Love

The English word “love” has been used in reference to a “strong affection for another” since before the 12th century, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. It has been said that the English language has only one word for love, but English also has other words implying love such as affection, friendship, attraction, etc. The word “love” though is a constantly evolving concept with ever-broadening definitions. Human love, therefore, cannot be simply defined, as it is being redefined all the time.

What Is Self-Love?

Love, today, instead of being merely a strong affection for another, issynonymous with acceptance, tolerance, celebration of diversity, open-mindedness, desire, and pleasure.

Another type of love we hear a lot about currently is “self-love” (philautia). This Psychology Today article defines self-love as “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.” Self-love can be a natural and healthy appreciation of self, but also has the potential to easily become excessive, narcissistic, and selfish!

What Does the Bible Say about Loving Yourself?

Scripture talks about loving yourself in two different ways:

1. As an Assumption

  • “Love your neighbor as yourself(Matthew 22:39Mark 12:31).  
  • “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners…” (Leviticus 19:34).

We naturally love and care for ourselves. Notice that the Bible never directly tells us to love ourselves, because it’s unnecessary. (It tells us to love God and others.) We take care of our own needs. We do so to the extent of putting ourselves and our welfare, needs, desires, and ambitions first, before God and before others. It is for this reason that God’s Word says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). The problem is not that we do not love ourselves, but that we love ourselves too much and others too little. Self-love can too easily morph from a natural state to a corruption of what is natural. The goal instead should be for natural love to be transformed into spiritual, or Christ-like love.

Most sins stem from love of self and a lack of love for God and others. Think about it: hate, greed, envy, murder, strife, gossip, slander, arrogance and pride all result from a love of self. When we love ourselves without regard for God or others, the result is sin. If God’s law is summed up by love for God and love for others (Matthew 22:37-40), then sin, defined in Scripture as “lawlessness,” is any thought, word, or deed void of (spiritual) love.

2. As a Corruption

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Do you hear the problem? There will come a day (and that day is already here) when people will be lovers of themselves without love for others, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Self-love is natural, but it is not Christ-like or spiritual love.

What Does the Bible Say about Love? How Does God Love?

The Greek word for spiritual love is agape, which according to, means:

  • The love of God or Christ for humankind.
  • The love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.
  • Unselfish love of one person for another without sexual implications; brotherly love.

1. Spiritual love is not self-love, but rather self-sacrificing love.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).

According to this passage, Jesus is the reason we even know what spiritual love is! In laying down His life for us, He taught us everything we need to know about true love.

2. Spiritual love is generous, not selfish or greedy.

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loveGod, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

3. Spiritual love is unending, not a temporary feeling, emotion, or attraction. 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

Nothing can separate us from God’s love! “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”(1 John 4:8). God does not just love us or teach us how to love, He is love!

We, on the other hand, love who we want, when we want, how we want, if we want, and to the extent that we want, and then claim we love like God. Far from it.

4. Spiritual love is undeserving and often unreciprocated.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43-44).

Herein lies the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ: For God so loved His enemies (us), that He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Three days after He died, Jesus rose again, conquering death. Through his death, we are reconciled to God (no longer enemies, but friends!). Because of Him, we can be saved. Whoever believes in Jesus through faith will have everlasting life!

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10).

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel” (Colossians 1:21-23).

5. Spiritual love is lavish.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1).

Once we were enemies of God, but because of God’s great love for us, demonstrated in the death and life of Jesus, we can be called His children! (Notice it is because of God’s great love for us, not our great love for Him.) A song by Sovereign Grace Music put it this way: “Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table, Jesus, thank You.”    

God’s love is self-sacrificing, generous, extravagant, lavish, costly, limitless, boundless, measureless and unconditional. Why don’t we love like that?

What Is Love? God Is Love.

Humanity has always struggled to define love, and is constantly redefining it, but God’s definition is clear and will never change:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Kristi Walker has been a missionary in Berlin, Germany for over 15 years working with an international church as the Director of Student Ministries. She is the author of two books, Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away from Christ  and Convinced. Applying Biblical Principles to Life’s Choices.