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The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

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Choose Life

A new principle: faith laying hold of the spirit of the law and turning the heart to Jehovah

WE must now dwell a little on this last point. Chapter 30 furnishes us with an important principle. It supposes that the people have already incurred the consequences of disobedience, and they are seen as driven out of the land, and strangers among distant nations. The law could not be followed out in such a case; and, indeed, the violation of the law had even then produced its fruits.

But then quite a new principle is introduced: the return of the hearts of the people to Jehovah, and obedience, one must add, in spirit. Thereupon Jehovah brings them back into their land, and blesses them in it. The curse is put on their enemies; and they are to observe in the land the ordinances of Jehovah, enjoying anew His full blessing; for the commandment was neither in heaven, nor beyond the seas, but in the mouth and in the heart. This was not the new covenant, but faith laying hold of the spirit of the law in principle, and turning the heart towards Jehovah, when the law was externally impracticable.

The principle of the return of the heart when under the curse of the law

The establishment of the new covenant, based on this return of the heart, at a time appointed of God, will be something well defined. Here we have the principle of their return when under the curse of the law they had broken. Hence, the apostle quotes this passage for the basis of the principle, as a testimony given to what righteousness by faith was, applying it to Christ Himself—the return of the heart to the object and end of the law, when judgment was on them for its violation, and hope of righteousness by its accomplishment impossible—how Christ was the end of the law for righteousness. The principle is found here. The apostle brings in Christ as the true accomplishment of it. At the end of the chapter, Moses declares that he has now set before them the good and the evil, and that they would have to bear the consequence of their choice.[1]



[1] Darby, J. N. (2008). Synopsis of the books of the Bible: Genesis to 2 Chronicles. (pp. 340–341). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. (Public Domain)

Jesus is Your Hope, Refuge and Peace Today

Jesus is Your Hope, Refuge and Peace Today

Many Americans today are very troubled about the circumstances they are facing now and in foreseeable future. The Christian knows intellectually that the answer is in Jesus Christ or God, questions; "What will that look like?" "How do I know that He will see me through?"

When Jesus saved you, He also promised to always be with you, "I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20). This promise has not changed. It is as true as the day that said it.


There are two kinds of hope. There is a hope that the future will turn out fine. One hopes that what they did or said was acceptable.

Biblical hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised; its strength in His faithfulness. "… God, desiring even more to demonstrate to the heirs of the promise the fact that His purpose is unchangeable, confirmed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to hold firmly to the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable" (Hebrews 6:17 – 19 ). "… And hope does not disappoint" (Romans 5:5).

The apostle Paul later reiterates the source of our hope, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the abridgment of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4).


Over the years people have sought ways to protect themselves from disaster. Bomb shelters were built in the 50s for protection from an atomic bomb attack. Other stocked up on freeze-dried food for when normal food supplies are unavailable.

Currently, the rich are establishing a safe haven to stash their wealth. Others are buying cyber money for when the US dollar is the devaluated.

There is a year or more weight to buy generators to power electricity, for when the electric power grids break down and no local electrical power is available. Solar power is only reliable as long as the batteries last and must be replaced.

All these attempts to find refuge in the list above, plus a myriad of others, provide extremely limited protection from disaster. However, God himself is the better way of protection. The psalmist said, "The Lord helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him" (Psalm 37:4). "How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those fear You, which You have performed for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of mankind" (Psalms 31:19)!

Jesus is there for you! "He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you may take refuge; His faithfulness as a shield and wall" (Psalms 91:4).


Jesus promises, "Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful" (John 14:27). This piece is available to all who belong to him by faith without exception.

Biblical peace is relational. It is not dependent upon good or evil circumstances. Biblical peace is dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His love, care and protection for His people.

Many capable Christians do not experience Jesus’ piece since they depend upon themselves rather than depending upon Jesus to be the daily source of life and purpose. They want Jesus to help them accomplish their agendas: spiritual, personal and secular, rather than cooperate with him in His direction and purpose for their lives.

The writer of Hebrews identifies one’s preoccupation with themselves, "Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have" (Hebrews 13:5). However, if you entrust yourself to Jesus’ control, "He himself has said, ‘I will never desert you nor will I never abandon you’" (Hebrews 13:5).

As you entrust yourself to Jesus, who will never desert you nor abandon you, you will always experience His peace. If you choose not to entrust yourself to Him you will experience all kinds of fears and anxieties.

Jesus comforts you with this promise, "These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

The apostle Paul, who experience all kinds of adversities and conflicts concludes, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Jesus is your HOPE, REFUGE and PEACE today and forever!

"Now may the God of peace who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, that is, Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen" (Hebrews 13:20 – 21).

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries

PO Box 1930

Englewood, CO 80150-1930

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So You, Too, Must Keep Watch

"So you, too, must keep watch!  For you do not know the day or hour of My return."  (Matthew 25:13)  


No one can predict when Jesus’ will return. People have attempted to but the word of God clearly states we don’t know. There are many signs leading up to His coming. 


When Jesus’ returns what do you think he will find you doing? He is a loving savior but likes all mankind to want to follow him. 


Are you keeping watch? Are you daily reading scripture and looking up? You need to be ‘watchful’ and thankful until he comes again. And he WILL be back. 


PRAYER: Each day I get up and am thankful that I am alive. I realize I have a distinct purpose and thank you for that. Use me to help point others to Jesus’. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

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Just Pray...Okay?

Just Pray...Okay?

“Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart,” Luke 18:1 AMP Bible Gateway

Today is the start of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting in many churches across the United States which is intentional intense focused prayer which every believer should participate in just once if not every time it rolls around. But don’t wait for an organized prayer event to pray but pray always!

Don’t wait until a crisis and cry out to God but go to Him daily several times a day and talk to Him. He can use you to reach others for the kingdom as well.

I can testify to the power of not quitting and seeing miracles and I am sure some others can as well. Your words and cries and groans don’t fall on silent ears. Your enemy the devil tries all he can to keep you from seeking God. Don’t listen to his lies and keep pressing in trusting God.

PRAYER: Lord I pray for those I know who don’t pray for whatever reason some even being raised in Christian homes. I pray for others who may have grown weary not to give up. Help me trust you each day that you work all things for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Note: below is a link to 21 Days of Prayer

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

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Is Your Light Shining Bright, Dim, Flickering or Hidden?

Is Your Light Shining Bright, Dim, Flickering or Hidden?

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

Many who grew up in Sunday school may remember the children’s song ‘This little light of mine’ which basically taught young children to not be ashamed of Jesus. 

If you are a believer you are to be like a city set on a hill that can not be hidden for instance  picture Manhattan(NYC) at night to get the word picture. Be that bright, Times Square and all!  You are not to be ashamed and choose to be one way with one group of people and totally different with others. 

How is your light? Do people know you are different? Can they tell you are a believer or do you compromise your walk or try to snuff out your light sometimes? Never be ashamed but brightly shine God’s love to everyone you encounter. It is going to be a bright, bright, sun shiny day! 

PRAYER: I want to say I am sorry if I have ever tried to dim my light depending on where I am. Once a person accepts Christ the job for them just begins and that is to shine for Jesus’ to try to win others into the kingdom. Help me do kingdom work wherever I go. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

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Colossians 1:28

Colossians 1:28

Whom we preach. Here he applies to his own preaching everything that he has previously declared as to the wonderful and adorable secret of God; and thus he explains what he had already touched upon as to the dispensation which had been committed to him; for he has it in view to adorn his apostleship, and to claim authority for his doctrine: for after having extolled the gospel in the highest terms, he now adds, that it is that divine secret which he preaches. It was not, however, without good reason that he had taken notice a little before, that Christ is the sum of that secret, that they might know that nothing can be taught that has more of perfection than Christ.

The expressions that follow have also great weight. He represents himself as the teacher of all men; meaning by this, that no one is so eminent in respect of wisdom as to be entitled to exempt himself from tuition. “God has placed me in a lofty position, as a public herald of his secret, that the whole world, without exception, may learn from me.”

In all wisdom. This expression is equivalent to his affirming that his doctrine is such as to conduct a man to a wisdom that is perfect, and has nothing wanting; and this is what he immediately adds, that all that shew themselves to be true disciples will become perfect. See the second chapter of First Corinthians. (1 Cor. 2:6.) Now, what better thing can be desired than what confers upon us the highest perfection? He again repeats, in Christ, that they may not desire to know anything but Christ alone. From this passage, also, we may gather a definition of true wisdom—that by which we are presented perfect in the sight of God, and that in Christ, and nowhere else.

Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (pp. 170–172). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)


Ver. 28. Whom we preach, &c. Under the above considerations; as the riches, the glory, and the mystery of the Gospel; as the hope set before lost sinners to lay hold upon; as the only Savior and Redeemer, by whose righteousness believers are justified, through whose blood their sins are pardoned, by whose sacrifice and satisfaction atonement is made, and in whose person alone is acceptance with God: Christ and him crucified, and salvation by him, were the subjects of the ministry of the apostles; on this they dwelt, and it was this which was blessed for the conversion of sinners, the edification of saints, the planting of churches, and the setting up and establishing the kingdom and interest of Christ: warning every man; of his lost state and condition by nature; of the wrath to come, and the danger he is in of it; of the terrors of the Lord, and of an awful judgment; shewing sinners that they are unrighteous and unholy, that their nature is corrupt and impure, their best righteousness imperfect, and cannot justify them before God; that they stand guilty before him, and that destruction and misery are in all their ways; and therefore advise them to flee from the wrath to come, to the hope set before them in the Gospel: teaching every man in all wisdom; not natural, but spiritual and evangelical; the whole Gospel of Christ, the counsel of God, the wisdom of God in a mystery, and all the branches of it; teaching them to believe in Christ for salvation, to lay hold on his righteousness for justification, to deal with his blood for pardon, and with his sacrifice for the atonement of their sins; and to observe all things commanded by Christ, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly: by these two words, warning and teaching, the several parts of the Gospel ministry are expressed; and which extend to all sorts of men, rich and poor, bond and free, greater and lesser sinners, Gentiles as well as Jews; and who are chiefly designed here, and elsewhere, by every man and every creature: that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; not in themselves, in which sense no man is perfect in this life; but in the grace, holiness, and righteousness of Christ, in whom all the saints are complete: or it may regard that ripeness of understanding, and perfection of knowledge, which, when arrived unto, saints become perfect men in Christ; and is the end of the Gospel ministry, and to which men are brought by it; see Eph. 4:13 and to be understood of the presentation of the saints, not by Christ to himself, and to his father, but by the ministers of the Gospel, as their glory and crown of rejoicing in the day of Christ.

Gill, J. (1809). An Exposition of the New Testament (Vol. 3, p. 181). London: Mathews and Leigh. (Public Domain)


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Take Heed Acts 20:28

Acts 20:28

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.” (Acts 20:28, RSV)

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28, NASB 2020)

“Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God that he obtained with his own blood.” Do you see how [Paul] gives two orders here? Success with others alone does not bring any benefit—for I fear, he says, “lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Cor 9:27) Equally, caring only for oneself brings no benefit. For such a one is selfish and seeks only his own good, like the man who has buried his gold. He says this not because our own salvation is more precious than that of the flock but because when we attend to ourselves, the flock also benefits.  (John Chrysostom (344/354–407; fl. 386–407). Bishop of Constantinople who was noted for his orthodoxy, his eloquence and his attacks on Christian laxity in high places.)

28. Take heed, therefore. Attend to; be on your guard against the dangers which beset you, and seek to discharge your duty with fidelity.

To yourselves. To your own piety, opinions, and mode of life. This is the first duty of a minister; for without this all his preaching will be vain. Comp. Col. 4:17; 1 Ti. 4:14. Ministers are beset with peculiar dangers and temptations, and against them they should be on their guard. In addition to the temptations which they have in common with other men, they are exposed to those peculiar to their office—arising from flattery, and ambition, and despondency, and worldly-mindedness. And just in proportion to the importance of their office is the importance of the injunction of Paul, to take heed to themselves.

And to all the flock. The church; the charge entrusted to them. The church of Christ is often compared to a flock. See Notes on Jn. 10:1–20; also Jn. 21:15–17. The word flock here refers particularly to the church, and not to the congregation in general, for it is represented to be that which was purchased with the blood of the atonement. The command here is, (1) To take heed to the church; that is, to instruct, teach, and guide it; to guard it from enemies (ver. 29), and to make it their special object to promote its welfare. (2) To take heed to all the flock—the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the old and the young. It is the duty of ministers to seek to promote the welfare of each individual of their charge—not to pass by the poor because they are poor, and not to be afraid of the rich because they are rich. A shepherd regards the interest of the tenderest of the fold as much as the strongest; and a faithful minister will seek to advance the interest of all. To do this he should know all his people; should be acquainted, as far as possible, with their peculiar wants, character, and dangers, and should devote himself to their welfare as his first and main employment.

Over the which the Holy Ghost. Though they had been appointed, doubtless, by the church, or by the apostles, yet it is here represented as having been done by the Holy Ghost. It was by him, (1) Because he had called and qualified them for their work; and, (2) Because they had been set apart in accordance with his direction and will.

Overseers—ἐπισκόπους. Bishops. The word properly denotes those who are appointed to oversee or inspect anything. This passage proves that the name bishop was applicable to elders; that in the time of the apostles, the name bishop and presbyter, or elder, was given to the same class of officers, and, of course, that there was no distinction between them. One term was originally used to denote office, the other age, and both were applied to the same persons in the church. The same thing occurs in Tit. 1:5–7, where those who in ver. 5 are called elders, are in ver. 7 called bishops. See also 1 Ti. 3:1–10; Phi. 1:1.

To feed—ποιμαίνειν. This word is properly applied to the care which a shepherd exercises over his flock. See Notes on Jn. 21:15, 16. It is applicable not only to the act of feeding a flock, but also to that of protecting, guiding, and guarding it. It here denotes not merely the duty of instructing the church, but also of governing it; of securing it from enemies (ver. 29), and of directing its affairs so as to promote its edification and peace.

The church of God. This is one of three passages in the New Testament in regard to which there has been a long controversy among critics, which is not yet determined. The controversy is, whether is this the correct and genuine reading. The other two passages are, 1 Ti. 3:16, and 1 Jn. 5:7. The MSS. and versions here exhibit three readings: the church of God (τοῦ Θεοῦ); the church of the Lord (τοῦ Κυρίου); and the church of the Lord and God (Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ). The Latin Vulgate reads it God; The Syriac, the Lord. The Arabic, the Lord God. The Ethiopic, the Christian family of God. The reading which now occurs in our text is found in no ancient MSS. except the Vatican Codex, and occurs nowhere among the writings of the fathers except in Athanasius, in regard to whom also there is a various reading. It is retained, however, by Beza, Mill, and Whitby as the genuine reading. The most ancient MSS., and the best, read the church of the Lord, and this probably was the genuine text. It has been adopted by Griesbach and Wetstein; and many important reasons may be given why it should be retained. See those reasons stated at length in Kuinoel in loco; see also Griesbach and Wetstein. It may be remarked, that a change from Lord to God might easily be made in the transcribing, for in ancient MSS. the words are not written at length, but are abbreviated. Thus, the name Christ (Χριστός) is written ΧΟΣ; the name God (Θεός) is written ΘΟΣ; the name Lord (Κυρίος) is written ΚΟΣ; and a mistake, therefore, of a single letter would lead to the variations observable in the manuscripts. Comp. in this place the note of Mill in his Greek Testament. The authority for the name God is so doubtful that it should not be used as a proof text on the divinity of Christ, and is not necessary, as there are so many undisputed passages on that subject.

Which he hath purchased. The word here used (περιεποιήσατο) occurs but in one other place in the New Testament: 1 Ti. 3:13, “For they that have used the office of deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith.” The word properly means to acquire or gain anything; to make it ours. This may be done by a price, or by labour, &c. The noun (περιποίησις) derived from this verb is several times used in the New Testament, and denotes acquisition: 1 Th. 5:9: “God hath appointed us to obtain [unto the obtaining or acquisition of] salvation;” 2 Th. 2:14, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ;” 1 Pe. 2:9; Tit. 2:14; Ep. 1:14. In this place it means that Christ had acquired, gained, or procured, the church for himself by paying his own life as the price. The church is often represented as having thus been bought with a price, 1 Co. 6:20; 7:23; 2 Pe. 2:1.

With his own blood. With the sacrifice of his own life; for blood is often put for life, and to shed the blood is equivalent to taking the life. See Notes on Ro. 3:25. The doctrines taught here are, (1) That the death of Christ was an atoning sacrifice; that he offered himself to purchase a people to his own service. (2) That the church is, therefore, of peculiar value—a value to be estimated by the price paid for it. Comp. 1 Pe. 1:18, 19. (3) That this fact should make the purity and salvation of the church an object of special solicitude with ministers of the gospel. They should be deeply affected in view of that blood which has been shed for the church; and they should guard and defend it as having been bought with the highest price in the universe. The chief consideration that will make ministers faithful and self-denying is, that the church has been bought with a price. If the Lord Jesus so loved it; if he gave himself for it, they should be willing to deny themselves; to watch, and toil, and pray, that the great object of his death—the purity and the salvation of that church—may be obtained. (Barnes, A. (1884–1885). Notes on the New Testament: Acts. (R. Frew, Ed.) (pp. 295–297). London: Blackie & Son. (Public Domain))

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Father, Glorify Your Name

Father, Glorify Your Name

“Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”” (John 12:28, NASB 2020)

Glorify thy name. The meaning of this expression in this connection is this: “I am willing to bear any trials; I will not shrink from any sufferings. Let thy name be honored. Let thy character, wisdom, goodness, and plans of mercy be manifested and promoted, whatever sufferings it may cost me.” Thus Jesus showed us that God’s glory is to be the great end of our conduct, and that we are to seek that, whatever sufferings it may cost us.

I have both glorified it. The word it is not here in the original, but it is not improperly supplied by the translators. There can be no doubt that when God says here that he had glorified his name, he refers to what had been done by Christ, and that this was to be understood as an attestation that he attended him and approved his work. See ver. 30. He had honored his name, or had glorified him, by the pure instructions which he had given to man through him; by the power displayed in his miracles; by proclaiming his mercy through him; by appointing him to be the Messiah, &c.

Will glorify it again. By the death, the resurrection, and ascension of his Son, and by extending the blessings of the gospel among all nations. It was thus that he sustained his Son in view of approaching trials; and we may learn, 1st. That God will minister grace to us in the prospect of suffering. 2d. That the fact that God will be honored by our afflictions should make us willing to bear them. 3d. That whatever was done by Christ tended to honour the name of God. This was what he had in view. He lived and suffered, not for himself, but to glorify God in the salvation of men. Barnes, A. (1884–1885). Notes on the New Testament: Luke & John. (R. Frew, Ed.) (p. 310). London: Blackie & Son. (Public Domain)


He then makes a request of His Father and exhibits the outward appearance of prayer, not as being weak in respect of that Nature which is Almighty, but in respect of His Manhood, ascribing to the Divine Nature those attributes that are superhuman; not implying that the Divine Nature was something external to Himself, since He calls God His own Father, but in full consciousness that universal power and glory would be the lot of both Father and Son. And whether the text has: Glorify Thy Son, or: Glorify Thy Name, makes no difference in the exact significance of the ideas conveyed. Christ however, despising death and the shame of suffering, looking only to the objects to be achieved by the suffering, and almost beholding the death of all mankind already passing out of sight as an effect of the death of His Own Flesh; knowing that the power of corruption was on the point of being forever destroyed, and that the nature of man would be thenceforth transformed to a newness of life: He all but says something of this sort to God the Father: “The body, O Father, shrinks from encountering the suffering, and dreads that death which is unnatural to it; nay more, it seems a thing not to be endured that One Who is enthroned with Thee and Who possesses Almighty power should be grossly outraged by the audacious insults of the Jews; but since this is the cause for which I have come, glorify Thy Son, that is, prevent Me not from encountering death, but grant this favor to Thy Son for the good of all mankind.” And that the Evangelist in some other places also speaks of the Cross under the name of “glory,” thou mayest learn from what he says: For the Holy Spirit was not yet [given]; because Jesus was not yet glorified. For in his wisdom he in these words speaks of being “crucified” as being “glorified:” and the Cross is a glory. For although at the season of His Passion, Christ willingly and patiently endured many contumelies, and moreover underwent voluntarily for our sake sufferings which He might have refused to suffer; surely the undergoing this for the benefit of others is a characteristic of excessive compassion and of supreme glory. And the Son became glorious also in another way. For from the fact that He overpowered death, we recognize Him to be Life and Son of the Living God. And the Father is glorified, when He is seen to have such a Son begotten of Himself, of the same Nature as Himself. And He is Good, Light, Life, and superior to death, and One Who does whatsoever He will. And when He says: Glorify Thy Son, He means this: “Give Thy consent to Me in My willingness to suffer.” For the Father gave up the Son to death, not without taking counsel, but in willingness for the life of the world: therefore, the Father’s consent is spoken of as a bestowal of blessings upon us; for instead of “suffering” He spake of “glory.” And this also He says as a Pattern for us: for while on the one hand we ought to pray that we fall not into temptation, yet on the other hand if we should be so tried we ought to bear it nobly and not to rush away from it, but to pray that we may be saved unto God. But Glorify Thy Name. For if through our dangers it comes to pass that God is glorified, let all things be accounted secondary to that end.

Moreover, just as death was brought to naught in no other way than by the Death of the Savior, so also with regard to each of the sufferings of the flesh: for unless He had felt dread, human nature could not have become free from dread; unless He had experienced grief, there could never have been any deliverance from grief; unless He had been troubled and alarmed, no escape from these feelings could have been found. And with regard to every one of the affections to which human nature is liable, thou wilt find exactly the corresponding thing in Christ. The affections of His Flesh were aroused, not that they might have the upper hand as they do indeed in us, but in order that when aroused they might be thoroughly subdued by the power of the Word dwelling in the flesh, the nature of man thus undergoing a change for the better.

Cyril of Alexandria. (1885). Commentary on the Gospel according to S. John (Vol. 2, pp. 152–154). London: Walter Smith. (Public Domain) Cyril of Alexandria (375–444; fl. 412–444). Patriarch of Alexandria whose extensive exegesis, characterized especially by a strong espousal of the unity of Christ, led to the condemnation of Nestorius in 431.


This was the weakness of His human nature. ‘However, I have no justification to offer for begging release from death,’ He said. ‘No, this is why I came to this hour.’ It was as if He was saying: ‘Even though we are disturbed, even though we are troubled, let us not flee from death. For, though I also am now troubled, I am not speaking so as to avoid it, for I must bear it when it comes upon Me. I do not mean: “Release Me from this hour,” but what? Father, glorify Thy name. Even though My perturbation caused Me to speak as I just did, I mean the opposite: “Glorify Thy name”; that is, “lead Me henceforward to the cross.” ’

This very effectually shows that He was human and that His human nature did not wish to suffer death, but was clinging to the present life, and it proves that He was not without human feelings. Just as the fact that He suffered hunger was not held against Him, or that He slept, so the fact that He dreaded the separation from this present life ought not to be held against Him, either. Christ’s Body was, to be sure, altogether free from sin, but it was not without physical needs; otherwise, it would not have been a real body. By these words, accordingly, He taught still another lesson. What, then, is it? That if we are ever in a state of distress and fear, we should not for that reason desist from our undertakings.

‘Father, glorify thy name!’ He was showing them that He would die for the sake of truth, and was referring to this as giving glory to God. Moreover, this effect would be evident after the crucifixion. The world would be converted and come to know the name of God and to serve Him, though not the name of the Father only, but also that of the Son. Nevertheless He remained silent about this as yet.

‘There came therefore a voice from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” ’

‘When had He glorified it?’

‘In previous events; and I will glorify it again after the crucifixion.’

‘What, then, did Christ reply?’

‘Not for me did this voice come, but for you.’ However, they thought it was thunder, or that an angel had spoken to Him.

‘Yet how was it that they thought this? Was the voice not clear and distinct?’

Yes, but it quickly sped past them, since they were somewhat unspiritual and carnal and immortified. Moreover, some merely detected the sound, while others knew that the voice was articulate, but they did not yet comprehend what it meant. What, therefore, did Christ say? ‘Not for me did this voice come, but for you.’

‘Why did He say this?’

To refute the statement that they were repeatedly making; namely, that He was not from God. For how was it possible that He was not from God if He was glorified by God whose name was also glorified by Him? It was for this reason, to be sure, that the voice came. And that is also why He Himself said: ‘Not for me did this voice come, but for you. It was not that I might learn from it something of which I was ignorant (for I know all things that are the Father’s), but for your sake.’ In fact, since they were saying that an angel had spoken to Him or that there had been thunder, and since they were not heeding the voice, He said: ‘It came for your sake, that you might be induced by this means to inquire what was meant.’

John Chrysostom (344/354–407; fl. 386–407). Bishop of Constantinople who was noted for his orthodoxy, his eloquence and his attacks on Christian laxity in high places.




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Mark 9:35

Mark 9:35

“And sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”” (Mark 9:35, NASB 2020)

Guileless Cohesion. Gregory of Nyssa: Let vanity be unknown among you. Let simplicity and harmony and a guileless attitude weld the community together. Let each remind himself that he is not only subordinate to the brother at his side, but to all.  If he knows this, he will truly be a disciple of Christ. On the Christian Mode of Life 8.1.

The Pursuit of Meekness. Chrysostom: If you are in love with precedence and the highest honor, pursue the things in last place, pursue being the least valued of all, pursue being the lowliest of all, pursue being the smallest of all, and pursue placing yourselves behind others. The Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily 58

πάντων ἔσχατος καὶ π. δίακονοςhe shall be last of all, and servant of all. This is the way to be great among the disciples of Jesus. It does not point out the penalty of ambition, as we might gather from the certain disapproval of the ordinary ambition by Jesus, but the way of satisfying Christian ambition. But the method is a paradox, like the beatification of sorrow. The Christian way to be first is to be last, to fall to the rear, to efface yourself. But it is not only humility that is demanded, but service. This again is a paradox, since primacy means dominion, the faculty not of serving, but of levying service on others. But these things, humility and service, in the kingdom of God, not only lead to greatness, they are greatness, i.e. they are the supreme marks of the Christian quality. And it is one of the signs that the world is becoming a seat of the kingdom of God, that rulers, leaders, employers, and others, are beginning to recognize this idea of service as the meaning of their position. Gould, E. P. (1922). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to St. Mark (p. 174). New York: C. Scribner’s Sons. (Public Domain)

If any man desire to be first.—Comp. Matt. 23:12; 20:27; 18:4. Our clause seems in one formula to include two rules: whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; whosoever humbleth himself shall be exalted. Despotism makes man a slave; spiritual despotism makes him the lowest and most abject of all slaves, who must serve the most external and legal behests of a police for the internal kingdom of God. But voluntary service in the kingdom of love, and under the impulse of humility and self-denial, makes a man a spiritual power, and gives him an unconscious and blessed greatness in the kingdom of God, which does not complacently look at its own reflection. In this sense Christ came to minister unto all (symbol, the feet-washing), and has become Lord over all, Phil. 2:5–11. But the emphasis falls here obviously upon the second rule. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., & Shedd, W. G. T. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Mark (p. 89). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

Servant (διάκονος). minister. Probably from διώκω, to pursue; to be the follower of a person; to attach one’s self to him. As distinguished from other words in the New Testament meaning servant, this represents the servant in his activity; while δοῦλος, slave, represents him in his condition or relation as a bondman. A διάκονος may be either a slave or a freeman. The word deacon is an almost literal transcription of the original. See Philip. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8, 12. The word is often used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the gospel. See 1 Cor. 3:5; Eph. 3:7; 1 Thess. 3:2, and elsewhere. Mark uses δοῦλος in 10:44.  Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Vol. 1, p. 210). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. (Public Domain)

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The Nature and Necessity of Regeneration

The Nature and Necessity of Regeneration

John 3:3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

AS there is an essential distinction between divine and human knowledge, so is there a very great difference in the ways by which each of them is to be obtained; the one being attainable only by rational investigation, the other only by faith. Reason indeed must judge whether such or such things be revealed; but when that point is clearly ascertained, faith must receive the truth simply on the authority of God; and that too, no less when it lies beyond the sphere of our reason, than when it may easily be comprehended by it. The manner in which revealed truths are inculcated seems to imply this; for the prophets enforced their declarations, not with arguments, but with, “Thus saith the Lord:” and our Savior, with an authority which none but himself ever presumed to exercise, and which strongly marked his equality with the Father, disdained to use any other confirmation than that of his own assertion: this appears, as in numberless other passages, so particularly in his conversation with Nicodemus; when, instructing him in the mysterious doctrine of regeneration, he required a full assent to it upon the testimony of his own word. May we bow to his authority, while we consider,

I.    The nature of regeneration—

The mistakes which very generally obtain respecting this subject being first rectified, the truth will be more clearly seen—

Many suppose that baptism is the same with regeneration—

In the early ages of Christianity these terms were often used as synonymous, because it was taken for granted that none but truly regenerate persons would submit to a rite which engaged them to separate themselves from an ungodly world, and exposed them to the most imminent peril of their lives. But there is a wide difference between the two; regeneration being absolutely necessary to salvation, while baptism, as in the case of the dying thief, may under some circumstances be dispensed with. Besides, it was doubtless the great design of our Lord and his Apostles to regenerate and convert men: but were they so intent on administering the rite of baptism? Our Lord, we are told, “baptized no man;” and it is said of Paul, that “God sent him not to baptize;” yea, he himself “thanks God that he had baptized none but Crispus and Gaius:” but if he had regenerated none other, would he have thought that a proper ground for thanksgiving? Again, if baptism and regeneration be the same thing, we may use them altogether as synonymous terms: now it is said that “Whosoever is born of God overcometh the worlda,” and that “he neither doth sin nor can sin, because he is born of Godb.” But if we should say the same of all that are baptized, would not the worldly and sinful lives of many flatly contradict us? It appears then from the superior importance of regeneration, from the design of Christ and his Apostles respecting it, and from the properties ascribed to it in Scripture, that it neither is, nor can be, the same with baptism. Baptism is an outward work of man upon the body; regeneration is an inward work of God upon the soul.

Others think that regeneration imports no more than an outward reformation, or at most, a partial change of the inward man—

But can we conceive that, when a ruler of the Jews came to our Lord, acknowledging him to be a teacher sent from God, and desiring to be instructed in those things which he was come to reveal, our Lord would tell him that wicked men could not be saved without reforming their lives? Did Nicodemus need such information as that? Or, if this was all that our Lord meant, would this teacher in Israel have been so astonished at it? And would not our Lord have instantly rectified his misapprehension, and shewn him that there was no cause for astonishment? Can we imagine that our Lord would have confirmed the mistake, by representing this doctrine as an incomprehensible mystery, which man can no more fathom, than he can ascertain the hidden causes, or mark the exact boundaries, of the wind? Yea, would he have left this man so bewildered, saying, How can these things be! if he had meant no more than, that a wicked man must reform his life? Nor is it less evident that regeneration does not consist in a partial change even of the inward man. To what purpose should we boast of having experienced the illumination of Balaamc, the humiliation of Ahabd, the confession of Judase, the faith of Simon Magusf, the confidence of the unbelieving Jewsg, the attention of Ezekiel’s auditorsh, the reformation of Herodi, or (what perhaps includes all these together) the promising appearance of the stony-ground hearersk, if, like them, we rest in any partial change? Surely, if our righteousness exceed not theirs, we cannot hope that we shall be happier than they in our final doom.

In opposition to all such erroneous notions, the Scripture itself defines regeneration to be “a new creation, wherein old things pass away, and all things become newl.”

The author of this work is the Holy Spirit, who by a supernatural agency renews our inward man, and makes us partakers of a divine naturem. Our faculties indeed remain the same as they were before; but there is a new direction given to them all. Our understanding is enlightened, so that we behold ourselves, and Christ, and the world, yea, every thing else too, in a very different light from what we ever did beforen———Our will is changed, so that instead of following, or even desiring to follow, our own way, we surrender up ourselves altogether to God’s government, saying most unfeignedly, Not my will, but thine be doneo———Our affections also are exercised in a very different manner from what they were before, so that, instead of being called forth principally by the things of time and sense, they are set upon things spiritual and eternalp———We say not that this change is perfect in any man, (for there still are sad remains of the old and corrupt nature even in the best of men; the leprosy is never wholly removed till the walls be taken down.) But the change is universal in all the faculties, and progressive throughout our lives: nor can it be effected by any efforts of man, or by any other power than that of Godq.

As the Scriptures give this extensive view of regeneration, so they fully declare,

II.   The necessity of it—

“The kingdom of God” sometimes imports the kingdom of grace on earth, and sometimes the kingdom of glory in heaven. Indeed both are one and the same kingdom, subject to the same Head, composed of the same members, and governed by the same laws: grace is glory begun; glory is grace consummated. But for the purpose of illustrating our subject, we observe that, without regeneration,

1.   We cannot enter into God’s kingdom of grace—

There are many duties to be performed, and many privileges to be enjoyed, by the subjects of God’s spiritual kingdom, which an unregenerate man can neither perform nor enjoy. Who can doubt whether it be our duty to “repent in dust and ashes,” to “live by faith on the Son of God,” or to “crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts?” But can an unregenerate man do these things? We acknowledge that he may restrain in many respects his outward conduct; but can he root out from his heart the love of the world, and the love of sin? Can he truly lothe and abhor himself as well for the unhallowed corruptions of his heart, as for the grosser transgressions of his life? As well may he attempt to create a world as to effect these things by any power of his own. Again; it is the Christian’s privilege to enjoy that “peace of God which passeth all understanding,” to “abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost,” and to be transported with that “joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.” But can an unregenerate man possess that peace, when his iniquities are not forgiven? Can he look forward with delight to the coming of the day of Christ, when all his desires and pursuits terminate in this lower world? Can he be so elevated with holy joy, when there is nothing in his state which does not rather call for rivers of tears? But if any one doubt what answer he must return to these questions, let him go to his chamber, and see whether he be competent to form his mind to these sublime employments; and he will soon find that no power but that which created our souls at first, can form them anew after the Divine image.

2.   We cannot enter into the kingdom of glory—

There is a meetness for the heavenly inheritancer, which every one must attain, before he can enjoy the felicity of the saints in light. As, on earth, no occupation can afford us pleasure, if we have not an inward taste and relish for it, so, in heaven, we must have dispositions suited to the state of those above. But where is this disposition to be obtained, if not in this life? Can it be thought that there shall be “repentance in the grave,” and that we shall become regenerate in a future state? Shall he, who never supremely loved his God, become at once inflamed with devout affection towards him? Shall not he, who never was renewed after the Divine image, rather behold with dread and horror the holiness of God, and tremble at the sight of that Lamb, whose dying love he despised, and whose blood he trampled under foot? Shall he, who never sought one hour’s communion with God in secret, delight to have no other employment to all eternity? No; “as the tree falleth, so it lieth;” “he that was unjust will be unjust still; and he that was filthy will be filthy still.” As there is this reason on the part of man, so is there a still more cogent reason on the part of God. God has declared, with repeated and most solemn asseverations, that “except a man be born again, he shall never enter into his kingdom.” And has he spoken thus merely to alarm us? “Is he a man that he should lie, or the son of man that he should repent?” Will he dishonor himself to favor us? Will he violate the rights of justice, holiness, and truth, in order to save those, who, to their dying hour, rejected and despised his proffered mercy? If all the world tell you that you shall be admitted into heaven, believe them not: for the Judge of quick and dead has with the strongest possible asseverations declared, you never shall. Let us not then deceive ourselves with such vain hopes: for they can terminate in nothing but disappointment and ruin.


1.   The unregenerate—

You cannot surely be at a loss to know your real state, if you will examine candidly whether you have ever experienced such a change in your views, desires, and pursuits, as has been before described? O, let every one put home to his conscience this question, Am I born again? And know that neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision will avail you any thing, but a new creations. You must be born again, or perish———

2.   The regenerate—

St. Peter, writing to such persons under the severest persecution, begins his Epistle with congratulationst: and St. Paul bids us under the heaviest calamities to be thankful for renewing graceu. Do ye then bless God in every state, and “shew forth the virtues of him who hath called you to his kingdom and gloryx”———Let your renovation be progressive; and never think that you have attained any thing as long as any thing remains to be attained.[1]



a 1 John 5:4.

b 1 John 3:9.

c Numb. 24:4.

d 1 Kings 21:29.

e Matt. 27:4.

f Acts 8:13, 21, 23.

g John 8:41, 42.

h Ezek. 33:31.

i Mark 6:20, 27.

k Matt. 13:20, 21.

l 2 Cor. 5:17.

m 2 Pet. 1:4.

n Acts 2:37–47.

o Acts 9:6.

p Col. 3:2.

q John 1:13.

r Col. 1:12.

s Gal. 6:15.

t 1 Pet. 1:1, 3, 4.

u Col. 1:11–13.

x Ἀρετὰς. 1 Pet. 2:9.

[1] Simeon, C. (1833). Horae Homileticae: Luke XVII to John XII (Vol. 13, pp. 245–250). London: Holdsworth and Ball. (Public Domain)


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