Cast All Your Anxiety on Him
(6) "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (7) casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB)
Consider. God willingly desires for us to cast all our anxiety on him.
Have you cast all your anxiety -- all your worry and care -- on God?
The Apostle Peter is writing to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1-3). Peter recognizes that they are suffering for being Christians (1 Peter 4:12-19), and he advises them, "If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" (1 Peter 4:16). Peter exhorts the elders in the churches to be witnesses of Christ's sufferings and to be shepherds of God's flock (1 Peter 5:1-2). He encourages young people to be subject to their elders, and he instructs all of them (and us today) to clothe themselves (ourselves) with humility because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
Casting our anxiety on God and humility go together
Sometimes when we are anxious and are looking for an encouraging verse in the Bible such as 1 Peter 5:7, we might miss the point that humility and casting our anxiety on God go together. Peter begins verse 6 with "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" (1 Peter 5:6). Then, in verse 7 he adds "casting all your anxiety on him" (1 Peter 5:7). The Greek word for "humble" in 1 Peter 5:6 is tapeinoó (pronounced tap-i-no'-o) and means to make low (Ref. 1) or being willing to take a low place (Ref. 2). When we humble ourselves before God, we recognize that we are not reliant on ourselves only but are dependent on God. God is the one who fills us, who lifts us up, and who cares for our every need (Ref. 3, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:18, James 4:10, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).
Casting is like throwing
The Greek word for "casting" in 1 Peter 5:7 is epiriptó (pronounced ep-ir-hrip'-to) and means to throw (Ref. 4). This word in Greek occurs only twice in the New Testament (Englishman's Concordance - Ref. 4). Before Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Luke tells us, "They brought it (the colt) to Jesus, and they threw [cast] their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it" (Luke 19:35, parentheses and brackets added). In the same way the disciples throwing their coats on the colt was a one-way trip for the coats, casting our anxiety on Jesus should be a one-way trip for our anxiety.
We are to cast all of our anxiety -- not just parts of it -- on the Lord
In 1 Peter 5:7 the Greek word for "anxiety" is merimna (pronounced mer'-im-nah) which means cares and worries -- anything that fractures and divides a person's (our) being into parts (HELPS Word-studies - Ref. 5). In 1 Peter 5:7, merimna [anxiety] is singular and unites all of our cares and worries into one whole (Ref. 5, Ref. 6). Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower in Matthew uses the same singular form of merimna. "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the worry [anxiety] of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Matthew 13:22, brackets added). The fact that our anxiety -- the whole of it -- chokes the fruitfulness of God's word in us is a good reason for us to accept God's invitation to cast all our anxiety on him.
Because he cares for us
Peter gives the reason why we are to cast all our anxiety on the Lord -- because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). The Greek verb translated as "cares" in this second part of 1 Peter 5:7 is meló (pronounced mel'-o) and means pays attention to, is concerned about, gives thought to (Ref. 7). The God who cares for the sparrows cares for us as well (Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29-31). David wrote, "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me" (Psalm 40:17 KJV). The God who loves us so much that he gave his Son to die for us invites us and welcomes us to cast all our anxiety on him (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7).
Apply. The main way we cast our anxiety on God is to pray to, thank, and trust God. Pray to God and tell him your needs. Thank him for his answers (Philippians 4:6-7). (Have a continual "attitude of gratitude.") Trust God that he will take care of your concern according to his will and timing (1 John 5:14). Tell others how God has answered your prayers (Psalm 66:16). Your testimony describing how God has helped you will encourage others. Pray, thank, trust, and tell.
"The Peace of Believing Prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)"
"Blessed Be the Lord Who Daily Bears Our Burden" -- Psalm 68:19
"Jesus' Invitation - Come to Me and Rest" -- Matthew 11:28
Barnes' Notes on the Bible - 1 Peter 5:6
Meyer's NT Commentary on 1 Peter 5:7
The Authority of Jesus
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"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'" (Matthew 28:18)
This lesson presents 10 facets of the authority of Jesus Christ as taught in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The scripture references below are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 on the Bible Gateway website unless indicated otherwise (Ref. 1).
Consider. Which aspects of Jesus' authority really amaze you?
In the New Testament and in the examples below, the Greek word translated as "authority" is exousia [pronounced ex-oo-see'-ah]. Exousia means power to act, conferred or delegated power, ability, and weight (Ref. 2).
1. Jesus' Authority as a Teacher
"They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:22).
People were amazed [literally shocked or astonished] at the authority [ability and weight] that Jesus exhibited in his teaching (Matthew 7:28-29, Ref. 2, Ref. 3). Whereas the scribes quoted secondhand from other human sources such as rabbis ("Hillel says ..."), Jesus spoke from himself independently and absolutely as one sent of God (Ref. 4, Ref. 5). Jesus' formula was not "Ye have heard that it hath been said," but "I say unto you" (Ref. 6, Matthew 5:43-44 KJV).
2. Jesus' Authority over Unclean Spirits
"And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him!' Throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and came out of him. They were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, 'What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him'" (Mark 1:23-27).
Jesus demonstrated his authority [power to act] over unclean spirits by verbal word of command (man in synagogue - Mark 1:23-27, Gerasene demoniac - Luke 8:26-39, deaf mute boy with convulsions - Mark 9:14-29).
3. Jesus' Authority to Heal Diseases
"And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, 'If You are willing, You can make me clean.' Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed" (Mark 1:40-42).
Jesus demonstrated his authority to heal diseases by touch and verbal command (Simon's mother-in-law - Mark 1:30-31, leper - Mark 1:40-45, paralytic - Mark 2:10-12, man with withered hand - Matthew 12:9-14, blind man - Mark 8:22-26). In the remarkable encounter with the centurion whose slave was sick and about to die, the centurion recognized Jesus' authority to heal the centurion's slave from a distance by just saying the word (Matthew 8:5-10, 13).
4. Jesus' Authority to Raise the Dead
"And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise!' The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother'" (Luke 7:14-15).
Jesus demonstrated his authority to raise the dead by spoken command. In addition to raising the widow of Nain's son (Luke 7:11-17), Jesus raised Jairus' daughter (Luke 8:40-42, 49-56), and Lazarus (John 11:1, 11:21-27, 38-45). These miracles of Jesus' authority proved who Jesus was (and still is). Martha said to Jesus, "Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world" (John 11:27).
5. Jesus' Authority to Forgive Sins
"Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven'" (Mark 2:4-5). Some of the scribes who were present reasoned in their hearts, "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" (Mark 2:7, Exodus 34:6-7, Isaiah 43:25, Micah 7:18).
Jesus used his divine authority to heal the paralytic (with results the scribes could see) to prove his divine authority to forgive sins. Jesus said, "'But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'—He said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home'" (Mark 2:10-11). The forgiven and healed paralytic did rise, and took out his pallet in the sight of all (Mark 2:12). The people were amazed and glorified God (Mark 2:12). Such is the authority of Jesus!
6. Jesus' Authority over the Creation
"And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Hush, be still.' And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm" (Mark 4:39).
Jesus -- the Creator (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17) -- demonstrated his authority over the creation by commanding the sea to be still (Mark 4:35-41). This miracle powerfully showed Jesus' disciples who he was (and still is). The Old Testament teaches that God is the only one who can still the roaring sea (Psalm 65:5-7). Jesus' disciples remarked, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" (Mark 4:41).
7. Jesus' Authority to Execute Judgment
"For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:26-27).
God has given Jesus -- the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35), the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14), and the Messiah (John 4:25-26) -- authority to execute judgment. The Greek word for "judgment" in John 5:27 is krisis (pronounced kree'-sis). Krisis means a judicial decision with the results of either a positive verdict for (righteousness) or a negative verdict against (condemnation) (HELPS Word-studies - Ref. 7).
The Gospel of John tells us that those who do not believe in Jesus are "judged already" (John 3:18, for context, read John 3:16-21). Those who do believe in Jesus do not need to worry about judgment [condemnation] because "He who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life" (John 5:24).
8. Jesus' Authority over Mankind to Give Eternal Life
"Jesus spoke these things; and raising His eyes to heaven, He said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life" (John 17:1-2 NASB 2020).
Note the distinction Jesus makes in this prayer between "all mankind" and those "given him." Although Jesus has authority over all mankind, Jesus gives eternal life to those his heavenly Father has given him, that is, all who will believe in him (John 3:14-16, 1 John 5:13, Ref. 8).
9. Jesus Gives Authority to His Disciples
"And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing" (Luke 9:1-2).
Twelve sent out: Jesus not only gave the twelve disciples the authority to act, but also gave them the power to act. The power and authority that Jesus gave his disciples over demons and to perform healing confirmed their preaching message. Luke 9:6 tells us, "Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere."
Seventy sent out: Luke 10:1 tells us that Jesus appointed seventy others and sent them to every city and place where He was going to come. Jesus instructed the seventy to heal the sick and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you" (Luke 10:9). The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name" (Luke 10:17). The authority of Jesus' disciples to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to preach the gospel, and to make disciples is not in the authority of their (our) own name but is in the authority of the name of Jesus.
Disciples after Pentecost: At Pentecost and after Pentecost, God poured out the Holy Spirit on Jesus' disciples and filled them (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:17, Acts 4:31, Acts 10:44-48). Jesus had told them in advance that the Holy Spirit would come upon them so they would be his witnesses "in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and even the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). In the authority of Jesus' name, Jesus' spirit-filled disciples healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. These miracles resulted in opportunities for Jesus' disciples to testify about Jesus Christ with the results of many people believing in the Lord. Examples include:
10. All Authority Has Been Given to Jesus
After Jesus' resurrection, "The eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated" (Matthew 28:16). "Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth'" (Matthew 28:18).
God has exalted Jesus Christ and has given him supreme authority in heaven and earth. The Apostle Paul tells us about Jesus, "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:8-11).
God has given Jesus all authority over all peoples and nations (Daniel 7:13-14, Philippians 2:10-11). Jesus governs and protects the church (Ephesians 1:19-23). Jesus bestows the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, Acts 1:8), and he employs the angels of God to render service for those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:13-14, Ref. 10).
In the supreme authority that God has given Jesus Christ, Jesus said to his disciples then, and he says to us -- his disciples today -- "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Apply. In the authority that Jesus has given you as his disciple, how will you serve others in Jesus' name?
Gills Exposition - Mark 1:22
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges - Mark 1:22
Barnes notes on John 17:2
Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 28:18
Walking in Integrity
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"A righteous person who walks in his integrity--How blessed are his sons after him." (Proverbs 20:7)
This lesson explains the biblical meaning of "integrity" and "walking in integrity."
Consider. Are you "walking in integrity"? Is your integrity a good example for your children to follow?
1. What is the biblical meaning of "integrity"?
In the Old Testament, the most-often occurring Hebrew word translated as "integrity" is tom (pronounced tome) (Englishman's Concordance, Ref. 1). The Hebrew word tom means moral innocence, full, integrity, perfection, simplicity, and uprightness (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, Ref. 1). Dictionary.com defines "integrity" as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; and honesty (Ref. 2).
The biblical teaching about integrity comes primarily from the Old Testament. Abimelech pleaded his integrity and innocence before God after Abraham had told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister but didn't mention that she was his wife (Genesis 20:1-6). David purposed to walk within his house in the integrity of his heart (Psalm 101:2), and he recognized that integrity preserved him (Psalm 25:21). Solomon wrote wonderful proverbs describing the benefits of integrity. Refer to Proverbs 2:7, 10:9, 11:3, 19:1, 20:7, and 28:6.
In the King James Version, the word "integrity" does not occur in the New Testament. However, the New Testament does describe virtues such as truth, honesty, and purity that are necessary components of integrity. For example, see Philippians 4:8.
2. "Walking in integrity" is a way of life and conduct
In the Bible, the words "walk" and "walking" figuratively mean a way of life and conduct (Ref. 3). "Walking in integrity" denotes a way of life and conduct that is complete, upright, and morally innocent (Ref. 1). David wrote, "Lord, who may reside in Your tent? Who may settle on Your holy hill? One who walks with integrity, practices righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart" (Psalm 15:1-2).
Walking in integrity begins at home. David wrote, "I will carefully attend to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart" (Psalm 101:2, italics added). Our good example of walking in integrity begins in our household.
3. "Walking in Integrity" has important benefits
"Walking in integrity" has several important benefits. The Bible contrasts the benefits of integrity versus the pitfalls of crookedness and perversity.
Proverbs 10:9 -- Solomon wrote, "Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out." When we walk in integrity we live with security -- with confidence, assurance, refuge in God, and no fear of being "found out."
Psalm 25:21 -- David wrote, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You." "Preserve" means guard from dangers (Ref. 4). Integrity and uprightness guard us from dangers. The following attributes also guard us from dangers -- discretion (Proverbs 2:11), wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-6), and righteousness (Proverbs 13:6).
c. Blessing to your children
Proverbs 20:7 -- "A righteous person who walks in his integrity--How blessed are his sons after him." Parents today -- here is something you can do to improve the life of your children. Live a pure life, a life of integrity, a life that is a good example of duty to God and mankind (Ref. 5). Your life will bring blessings to your children during your lifetime and to succeeding generations after your death.
Apply. Are you walking in integrity? Is your life every day a good example for others to follow, especially your children?
Barnes' Notes on Psalm 1:1
5. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/pulpit/proverbs/20.htm - Pulpit Commentary on Proverbs 20:7
"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (John 1:5)
This lesson explains the meaning of John 1:5.
Consider. What does this verse (John 1:5) mean to you? How would you explain "The Light shines in the darkness" to an inquisitive believer or to a person who does not know Christ?
Scriptures in this lesson are taken from the 1995 New American Standard Bible (NASB) on the Bible Gateway website (Ref. 1) unless indicated otherwise.
1. The Light shines in the darkness
a. What is "The Light"?
Throughout the New Testament, "light" figuratively denotes truth and knowledge together with spiritual purity (Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Ref. 2). In John 1:5, the "Light" is God's divine illumination to reveal and impart life through Jesus Christ. The Light that shines in the darkness is the life-giving, saving truth embodied in Christ and by his love and effort imparted to mankind (Ref. 2).
b. Was the "Light" only in the past or is it ongoing?
The Light of Christ is perpetual. It always shines, and it never ceases. The life-giving, saving truth of Christ shining in the darkness was an on-going truth for the Apostle John and is an ongoing truth for us today -- not only for us, but also for us to share with others.
The verb "shines" in John 1:5 is in the present tense (Englishman's Concordance, Ref. 3). A Greek verb in the present tense means a present, continued action that is an actual fact (Ref. 4). The Greek verb for "shines" is phainó and means to shed light or appear (Strong's Concordance, Ref. 3). John uses the same word in 1 John 2:8.
c. In John and 1 John, what is the "darkness"?
In John 1:5 the Greek word for "darkness" is skotia (pronounced skot-ee'-ah) (Ref. 5). Skotia [darkness] figuratively means ignorance (lack of knowledge) of divine things, wickedness, and the resultant misery (Ref. 5).
John uses skotia figuratively for "darkness" in John 1:5, John 8:12, John 12:35, John 12:46, 1 John 1:5, as well as 1 John 2:8, 9, and 11. For example, Jesus said, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life" (John 8:12).
Skotia also has a literal meaning -- dark because of the absence of daylight (John 6:17, John 20:1).
d. How does a person get out of the "darkness"?
Believe in Jesus
Jesus tells us how we (or any person) can get out of spiritual darkness. Jesus said, "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness" (John 12:46). The key for getting out of the darkness and into the light is to believe in Jesus. The Greek word for "believe" in John 12:46 is pisteuó (pronounced pist-yoo'-o). Pisteuó means trust in, have faith in, and put confidence in (Ref. 6). A person who believes in Jesus trusts in, has faith in, and puts their confidence in Jesus.
2. And the darkness did not comprehend it or overcome it
The Greek verb translated as "comprehend" or "overcome" in John 1:5 is katalambanó (pronounced kat-al-am-ban'-o) (HELPS Word-studies, Ref. 7). Katalambanó means:
Let us rejoice! The Light of Jesus Christ is perpetual and is victorious over the darkness. The Light of Christ shining in the darkness gives us hope. As disciples of Christ, let us seek ways we can help provide the Light of Christ to others, to help them "see the Light" so that they will not remain in darkness.
Summary. In John 1:5, the "Light" is God's divine illumination to reveal and impart life through Jesus Christ to mankind. The Light shines perpetually, and it never ceases. Because of ignorance and wickedness, the darkness has not perceived or understood the Light. The darkness has not overcome the Light nor will it ever overcome the Light. As Christ's disciples, we have hope because Christ and his light are victorious over the darkness.
Apply. Think for a moment. In your own words, how would you describe the meaning of "The Light shines in the darkness"? How can you share the Light of Christ with others?
"Jesus is the Light of the World" - John 8:12, John 12:46
He Restores My Soul
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"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23:1-3)
This lesson explains the biblical meaning of Psalm 23:3, "He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
Consider. In your relationship with your shepherd, what does it mean to you that he restores your soul?
David writes Psalm 23 from the perspective of a sheep who is in a close relationship with and is under the protective care of his shepherd. In Psalm 23:1 David confidently writes, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." As followers of Jesus Christ our shepherd, we are his sheep, and we have a close relationship with him. We trust our shepherd, and he protects us and cares for us. He calls our name, and we follow him. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd" and "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:11, John 10:27).
1. "He restores my soul"
The Lord our shepherd restores and refreshes our soul -- our life, our emotions, and our vitality -- all that comprises our inner living being (Ref.1). In Psalm 23:3, the form of the Hebrew verb translated as restore has a dual meaning. In Psalm 23:3 restore literally means to bring back and figuratively means to refresh (Brown-Driver-Briggs -- Ref. 2). The Lord our shepherd restores our soul by bringing us back from our wanderings when we go astray from him (Ref. 2, Ref. 3, Isaiah 53:6).
The Lord our shepherd refreshes our soul when we are wearied, exhausted, troubled, anxious, and worn down with care and toil (Ref. 4, Matthew 11:28-29). The Lord our shepherd brings back our vigor, encourages us, excites us to new effort, and fills us with new joy (Ref. 4, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 51:12, Acts 13:52).
2. "He leads me in paths of righteousness"
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness. The Hebrew verb translated as lead means to guide and implies movement (Ref. 5). The Lord our shepherd leads us by calling our name and going before us for the purpose of our following him (John 10:1-4).
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness -- in ways that are right and just, moral and ethical, ways that are in accordance with his word (Ref. 6).
The paths of righteousness lead to life, not to death. Solomon wrote, "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death" (Proverbs 12:28).
3. "For his name's sake"
The Lord our shepherd leads us in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. The phrase, for his name's sake, means to maintain his reputation or character (Brown-Driver-Briggs -- Ref. 7). As followers of our shepherd, Jesus Christ, the way we live should bring honor, not dishonor, to his name. David wrote, "For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me" (Psalm 31:3). David also wrote, "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!" (Psalm 143:10-11).
Prayer. Thank you, Lord, for bringing us back when we have wandered away from you. Thank you, Lord, for refreshing our vitality when we are weary, and for giving us new direction and new joy. Thank you, Lord, for leading us in righteous paths for living that bring honor and glory to your name. All this we pray in your name, Jesus, our shepherd. Amen.
Benson Commentary on Psalm 23:3
Barnes' Notes on Psalm 23:3
Adoption as Sons
"He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will." (Ephesians 1:4-5)
"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26)
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)
This lesson is written for people who already are believers in Jesus Christ. This lesson teaches 1) Before the foundation of the world, God planned to adopt us as his sons (children), 2) We become God's adopted sons through faith in Jesus Christ, and 3) God has given believers in his Son the Spirit of adoption, not a spirit of bondage.
Consider. Do you believe that God has adopted you as his child?
1. Before the foundation of the world, God planned to adopt us as his sons (children)
In Ephesians 1:1, Paul writes, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus." Paul is writing not to unbelievers but to believers in Jesus Christ.
Paul then writes, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will" (Ephesians 1:3-5, italics added to the text for emphasis).
God's plan to save us through His Son and to adopt us as his sons has been established since before the world began. The Greek word in Ephesians 1:5 for adoption is huiothesia (pronounced hwee-oth-es-ee'-ah), which means literally to place as a son (Ref. 1). Thayer's Greek Lexicon further describes the meaning of the word adoption: "the nature and condition of the true disciples of Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become the sons of God" (Ref. 1). Because of God's kind will and advanced planning, God has adopted us -- believers in Jesus Christ -- as his sons.
2. We become God's adopted children through faith in Jesus Christ
In Galatians 3:26, Paul writes, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Note that Paul is writing to all the believers comprising the churches in Galatia (Galatians 1:2).
There is only one criterion for becoming an adopted son (child) of God -- faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Faith in Jesus Christ means belief, trust, and confidence in Jesus Christ (Strong's Concordance - Ref. 2). Faith is a gift from God, and is not something we earn through our own works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The phrase, "sons of God," in Galatians 3:26 is inclusive, not exclusive. In the New Testament, the phrase "sons of God" equally refers to male and female believers (HELPS Word-studies - Ref.3). The Greek word for sons in Galatians 3:26 means literally a son by birth or adoption and figuratively anyone sharing the same nature as their Father (Ref.3).
God's adoption of us as his children through faith in Christ applies equally regardless of our ethnic or racial or national background, economic status, or sex. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28).
3. God has given believers in his Son the Spirit of adoption, not the spirit of bondage
In Romans 8:15 Paul states that God has given us (believers in Christ) "the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'" First, the Holy Spirit is a gift by God to believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 2:28). Second, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of adoption) brings us into a close, affectionate relationship with God as our heavenly Father where we like children call him "Abba," the equivalent of "Daddy" or "Papa" (Ref. 4).
The Spirit of adoption that we receive as God's adopted children is more pleasant than the spirit of bondage which is in the world. In Romans 8:15 Paul says that the Spirit we have received is not the spirit of bondage [slavery] (Ref. 5). The spirit of bondage keeps people in slavery to sin (John 8:34) and in fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). In contrast, through the redemptive work accomplished by Christ (Galatians 4:4-5, Ephesians 1:7), we are freed from slavery to sin and death (John 8:31-36, Romans 8:1-2).
Through his Son, Jesus Christ, God has adopted us into a loving relationship with himself as our heavenly Father and us as his beloved children. God has given us -- his beloved adopted children -- the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of adoption.
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for your plan to adopt us as your children through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for the redemptive work of Jesus which has freed us from the power of sin and fear of death. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit which enables us to cry out, "Abba! Father!"
"Our Adoption as God's Children" - Galatians 4:4-7
"Becoming a Child of God" - John 1:12
"What is Redemption?" - Ephesians 1:7
Enter Through the Narrow Gate
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
This lesson is intended primarily for young people -- youth and young adults. You are considering the path or direction for your life. You may be feeling the call from Jesus Christ to commit your life, your way, to him. Yet, the world is attractive to you; its ways are enticing you (1 John 2:15-17). You may be feeling the world pulling you in opposition to the call of commitment to Jesus Christ. You are at a "fork in the road." Which way will you choose?
This lesson encourages you to enter through the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ and to follow Jesus on the path that leads to life.
1. Choose Jesus Christ instead of the world
Make the decision. Choose to enter the kingdom of God by the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ himself.
The broad way of the world may be attractive to you - for example, desire for "success" in the world's eyes, accumulating wealth, and prestige. Yet, Jesus says the broad way leads to destruction -- life cut off from Christ, ruin, or loss (Ref. 1). That ruin or loss can occur during this earthly life, for example, from love of money (1 Timothy 6:9, Matthew 6:24), or at the final judgment (Revelation 20:15). Even though God does love the people of the world and sent his Son to save us (John 3:16), Jesus' disciple John warns us not to love the things of the world such as pride and lust (1 John 2:15-17).
2. Search for and find the narrow gate
Jesus said, "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14, italics added). The implication from this verse is that instead of our choosing the broad way of the world, we should actively search for and find the narrow gate which is Christ. The Greek word for find in Matthew 7:14 means find, learn, discover, especially after searching (Ref. 2). Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
3. Enter through the narrow gate by faith in Christ
Enter through the narrow gate by placing your faith and trust in God's Son, Jesus Christ. God has ordained that the path to life and the way to God the Father is through his Son. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). Jesus also said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9).
4. Follow Jesus -- the way that leads to life
Jesus himself is the way that leads to life (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14). The life that Jesus leads us to is full in both the physical and spiritual sense (Ref. 3). Jesus promises believers an abundant life (John 10:10) -- a life filled with purpose, growth, work, and service.
Note that as we follow Jesus on the path that leads to life, the path is not easy. In Matthew 7:14 Jesus said "the way is narrow that leads to life." The word narrow in narrow way in Matthew 7:14 means constricted by pressure, and implies trouble and affliction (Ref. 4). Despite the obstacles that we will encounter on the way that leads to life, Jesus promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20); he gives us the Holy Spirit to help us (John 14:16, John 16:13). Jesus promises that he will lead us as we follow him on the way to our heavenly Father and to our heavenly destination (John 14:6, John 14:2-3).
Apply. Make the decision. Choose the way of Christ instead of the way of the world. Search for and find the narrow gate which is Jesus Christ himself. Enter through the narrow gate by placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Choose to follow Jesus on the path that leads to life and to our Father in heaven.
"Jesus is the Door" - John 10:7, John 10:9
"Jesus is the Way to the Father" - John 14:6
"Do Not Love the World" - 1 John 2:15
Daily Bible Verse
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Mr. Whitney V. Myers. Christian. For more information, please visit the Author Page.
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