Love One Another Earnestly
We are not to station ourselves at the window watching and waiting for the return of Jesus. Rather, we are to live out the redemptive realities that are ours in Christ. That includes our maturity and mission in Christ. We want to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18) and seek to make His name known (1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Pet. 3:9; Acts 2:38-39).
For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead. (1 Peter 4:6, NKJV)
Peter was very much aware that we as sojourners live now in light of the life to come. He begins his letter by reminding believers of their heavenly inheritance (1:3-5) and closes by reminding them that in the big scheme of things their suffering is momentary (5:10). Temporal suffering will be swallowed up in eternal glory.
Peter brings that sweeping perspective to bear. “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7). Peter is not merely speaking about the curtain coming down on human history. He is addressing the consummation of God’s redemptive plan (1:10-12; 2 Pet. 8-13). We live in a trajectory of glory, tasted in this life but feasted upon in the next.
Being partakers of God’s redemption now impacts the whole of our lives.
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When Yellow and Blue Make BrownBy Mike Leake — 9 months ago
In heaven every single time you paint with yellow and blue you get green. But that doesn’t always happen on earth. This side of the new heaven and new earth, Psalm 1 isn’t like a painting formula. It’s a general principle. It’s an echo of heaven. It’s the way that things are supposed to be. But things are broken a bit. And so sometimes on earth we paint with the colors we are supposed to and end up with a sloppy mess.
If you combine yellow and blue, you get green. Almost immediately. And though there are varying shades pending on the amount of yellow and blue, those two colors combined always make green.
Psalm 1 says that when you mix not sitting with scoffers with meditating on God’s law, you get bountiful fruit. Thriving. Mix those colors and you get beauty and blessing.
Jeremiah, through much pain, tells God that he did not sit in the “company of revelers” (15:18) but instead God’s words became “the delight of my heart” (15:16). Jeremiah combined the yellow of good company with the blue of delighting in God’s law.
He circles back around to this sentiment in Jeremiah 17. Many scholars think that this chapter is the prophet’s miscellaneous file with a few random thoughts combined around the theme of “the heart”. I disagree. I think it’s all driving to Jeremiah’s prayer in 17:14-18.
17:5-6 is Jeremiah painting his canvas with a bit of yellow. Cursed are those who trust in man instead of Yahweh. Jeremiah 17:9-10 is Jeremiah painting with a bit of blue. The heart is deceitful but our anchor is the word of God. Delight in God, don’t delight in man. That’s the theme. And in the middle of that sandwich is Jeremiah’s version of Psalm 1 (17:7-8).
When you combine yellow and blue. You get green. That is what verses 5-13 are telling us. Now listen to Jeremiah’s prayer…
When Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green
In verses 14-15 Jeremiah is positioning himself under God’s mercy. He knows that if healing is to happen it will come from the Lord. But in verse 15 he shares his ache. His words haven’t come true, yet.
Is the “Seed of the Woman” Individual or Collective? YesBy Jonathan Cheek — 1 month ago
Jesus clearly represents the seed of the woman who’s crushing the Serpent, and his children are clearly set in opposition to the children of the Serpent. If John is describing the outworking of Genesis 3:15, then he appears to understand the seed of the woman in that verse in both an individual and a collective sense.
The past 30 years have provided something of a renaissance in the interpretation of Genesis 3:15, with many evangelical scholars providing sound exegetical and theological argumentation that this verse explicitly anticipates a future individual offspring of the woman. However, many scholars still strongly affirm the collective understanding of the seed of the woman.
Another view proposes that the expectation of the seed of the woman is both individual and collective. In this interpretation, the verse anticipates (1) an individual coming Deliverer who will be at enmity with and exchange blows with the Serpent and (2) a collective group associated with the individual coming Deliverer who will participate in this enmity against the Serpent and his seed.
Several New Testament passages allude to Genesis 3:15 and demonstrate a collective and individual application of its outworking. Here are seven examples.
1. Opponents of Jesus as Offspring of the Serpent
The Gospel accounts display an ongoing enmity: Jesus and his followers (seed of the woman) on one side and Satan and his agents (seed of the Serpent) on the other. On several occasions, Jesus identifies his opponents as children or offspring of the Devil. In attributing their spiritual parentage to the Devil, Jesus declares his opponents are thinking and acting like the Devil.
Jesus directly addresses the Pharisees as “serpents” and a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 23:33; cf. 3:7; Luke 3:7). A Jew identifying someone as the offspring of a serpent is, in view of the broader context of the Old Testament, quite possibly alluding to Genesis 3:15 to some degree. These statements don’t necessarily address whether the seed of the woman is individual or collective, but they do suggest Jesus understands his opponents to be representative of the offspring of the Serpent.
In John 8, Jesus identifies the Jewish religious leaders with the offspring of the Serpent in his heated dialogue with “the Jews” (also identified as the Pharisees in v. 13) who insist they’re the offspring (σπέρμα) of Abraham (vv. 33, 39). Though Jesus concedes these “Jews” are offspring of Abraham in a physical sense (v. 37), they’re not truly “Abraham’s children” (τέκνα τοῦ Ἀβραάμ) because they don’t do “the works Abraham did” (v. 39).
True offspring of Abraham wouldn’t seek to kill Jesus, a man who speaks God’s truth (vv. 37, 40). Furthermore, God cannot be their father (v. 41) since they’re rejecting Jesus, the One whom God had sent (v. 42). Instead, the Devil is their father, since they fulfill his desires in their opposition to Jesus (v. 44).
Jesus points out the two primary sins of the Devil that solidifies their connection to him: he was a “murderer from the beginning,” and he is “a liar and the father of lies” (v. 44). The Jews’ intent to murder Jesus (vv. 37, 40, 44, 59), their rejection of his truth (vv. 37, 43–47), and their propagation of lies (vv. 41, 48, 52) demonstrate their character reflects the character of the Devil. The Devil, then, is their spiritual father, and they’re his offspring.
Because Jesus is certainly alluding to the Serpent’s actions in Genesis 3 in identifying the Devil as a liar and a murderer, he’s likely thinking of that chapter in referring to the unbelieving Jews as children of the Devil—the offspring of the Serpent.
“Enmity” describes Jesus’s relationship with such offspring of the Serpent. When Jesus confronts the offspring of the Serpent, he doesn’t come peaceably; rather, he engages in a harsh war of words in which he identifies and overcomes the agents of Satan.
This enmity doesn’t end with the Serpent’s seed’s rejection of Jesus; it continues with the offspring of the Serpent persecuting, flogging, killing, and crucifying Jesus’s messengers (Matt. 23:34–35). If these entities are representative of the offspring of the Serpent and if they’re at enmity with the individual Messiah, then these references appear to support the idea of the individual offspring of the woman being fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus presents these as enemies not only of himself but also of his followers. Therefore, throughout Jesus’s ministry, the offspring of the Serpent are at enmity with Jesus and his followers.
Though Jesus’s followers aren’t specifically identified as “offspring of the woman,” their position of enmity with the offspring of the Serpent assumes this identification. It isn’t necessary for Jesus to say, “You, my disciples, are offspring of the woman” in order to understand that the theme of enmity promised in Genesis 3:15 is being displayed in the Gospels. These conflicts support the idea of enmity between both individual and collective offspring.
2. John’s Theology of the World (Gospel of John)
John’s theology of the world also reflects the individual and collective enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the Serpent. John presents Satan as the ruler of the world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19), who works in direct opposition to Jesus. The “world” in this sense in John refers not to the created universe but to the sinful people and the systems that stem from those sinful people (and from their ruler, the Devil).
John positions the world in direct opposition to Jesus. Not only does the world hate Jesus (John 7:7; 15:18–24), but the world also hates believers—those who follow Jesus (John 15:18–24; 17:14; 1 John 3:13).
If Satan is identified as the Serpent from Genesis 3, and those who follow after him are identified as his “seed” or his children (or “the world”), then it seems consistent to understand John’s theology of the world as unfolding the concepts presented in Genesis 3. Satan and the world persist in their enmity toward Jesus and believers. The world “hates” Jesus and his people. Satan and the sinful leaders of this world put Jesus to death (striking his heel), but Jesus ultimately is victorious over the Devil (striking his head) and overcomes the world (John 16:33). Christians participate in this victory as they also overcome the world (1 John 2:13–14; 4:4; 5:4–5).
Though John doesn’t specifically identify believers as “offspring of the woman,” he clearly states they’re at enmity with the Devil and those who follow the Devil.
The Ultimate Authority for the One-Another Ministry We Call “Counseling”By Paul Tautges — 4 weeks ago
Without an infallible Bible we have no authority to counsel people regarding what they must believe and do, or how God expects us to change. However, because we possess the infallible Word of God, we also possess divinely delegated authority to counsel according to its precepts and principles. We can and must say to others, “Thus saith the Lord,” and “this is what God requires of you.”
Scripture alone provides power and authority for counseling and soul care since it is the Word of the living God who created and redeems us. There is nothing we may experience which God does not directly or indirectly address in His Word. The Bible truly is sufficient to minister to the soul as we deal with the manifold problems men, women, and children face in our broken world because Scripture is the revelation of the living God (Psalm 19:7-11). Therefore, let’s reflect on three characteristics of Scripture that build our confidence in its unique ability to heal and transform us from the inside out.
Scripture Sanctifies Us
The Word of God confronts us when we get off the right path and shows us how to get back on, and it trains us to live godly lives so that we mature and become equipped to serve God: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Because the Word of God is a living book, it has the power to expose our motives and transform the inner man—the heart—which consequently changes our behavior; that is, it produces righteous living (Hebrews 4:12). According to Jesus, Scripture is the Spirit’s primary tool in the process of sanctification (John 17:17). Therefore, we should test every truth claim made by any person by the standard of Scripture, which is the mind of God in written form (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). This does not mean we cannot benefit from extra-biblical (not un-biblical) knowledge that, when filtered through the Word, may amplify our awareness of human suffering. However, its help is always subordinate—never equal—to the authority of God in Scripture. We must interpret any knowledge we gain through general revelation or common grace by using the flawless lens of Scripture.