“Hebrews 6 and the Loss of Salvation” — John MacArthur

“Hebrews 6 and the Loss of Salvation”

Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that a true believer can lose his salvation?

No. In that passage, the writer of Hebrews is speaking to the unsaved who have heard the truth and acknowledged it, but who have hesitated to embrace Christ. The Holy Spirit warns them, “You had better come to Christ now, for if you fall away it will be impossible for you to come again to the point of repentance.” They were at the best point for repentance–full knowledge. To fall back from that would be fatal.

Because they believe the warning is addressed to Christians, many interpreters hold that the passage teaches that salvation can be lost. If this interpretation were true, however, the passage would also teach that, once lost, salvation could never be regained. There would be no going back and forth, in and out of grace. But Christians are not being addressed, and it is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.

The believer need never fear he will lose his salvation. He cannot. The Bible is absolutely clear about that. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29; see also Rom. 8:35-39; Phil. 1:6; and 1 Pet. 1:4-5).

If you are in Christ, rejoice. Your salvation is secure forever.

(Today’s post adapted from the MacArthur New Testament Commentary on Hebrews, p. 146.)
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org

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“How Good Do I Have To Be To Go To Heaven?” – John MacArthur

“How good do I have to be to go to heaven?”

Matthew 19:25; Matthew 5:20

Most people understand that doing evil can keep us out of heaven. But few realize the Bible also teaches that doing good cannot get us in. None of us could ever gain enough merit to deserve heaven. We are sinful, and God’s standard is utter perfection. Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). He added, “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Then who can be saved?
The disciples asked Jesus this same question (Matthew 19:25). His answer? “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (v. 26). In other words, our salvation is not something we can accomplish. It is something God must do for us.

What if I stopped sinning now and never sinned again?
We are hopelessly in bondage to sin and could not cease sinning no matter how hard we tried. Scripture says even our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). In other words, we are sinful to the core. Furthermore, a single sin would be enough to destroy us forever: “Whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). But even if we never sinned from now on, we still bear the guilt of our past sins. And “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Is there any way to be free from the guilt of sin?
The Bible says, “The blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

How can Jesus’ blood cleanse our sins?
When God forgives, He doesn’t merely overlook sin. Atonement must be made. Christ’s death made full atonement for those who trust Him. His dying counts in our stead if we believe. However, that only erases the guilt of our sin. Remember, we still need perfect righteousness in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).

Where do we get that perfect righteousness?
The full merit of Jesus’ righteousness is imputed, or credited, to those who trust Him alone for salvation. Scripture teaches that God “justifies the ungodly” by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to them (Romans 4:5). They are clothed in His righteousness, and God accepts believers solely and exclusively on that basis. That’s why Paul was willing to discard all his own efforts to earn God’s favor, preferring instead to stand before God robed in a righteousness that was not his own (Philippians 3:8-9).

If you are not a Christian, you need to lay hold of this truth by faith: the sin that will keep you out of heaven has no cure but the blood of Christ. If you are weary of your sin and exhausted from the load of your guilt, He tenderly holds forth the offer of life and forgiveness and eternal rest to you: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

How can I be sure Christ will save me?
No one will be turned away: “The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). All are invited: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

For further help on how you can have the assurance of an eternal home in heaven, click here.
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For a more thorough treatment of the subject, see John’s book or audio series called The Gospel According to Jesus.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org

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John MacArthur: On Humility In An “American Idol” Culture

“Restoring the Virtue of Meekness”

John MacArthur

The shift in American culture from character to image has turned vanity and pride into virtues. Where does that leave the virtue of meekness? Will the meek really inherit the earth? What is meekness, anyway?

Pride has been redefined in American culture as a virtue. The strong, the beautiful, the powerful, the intelligent, and the privileged take every opportunity to put themselves forward. Politicians manifest pride in speeches and debates; entertainers glamorize pride in their movies and lifestyles; educators teach pride by emphasizing self-esteem and making every child a winner (whether they deserve it or not); and sports icons reinforce pride as the path to greatness.

Probably the least admired character quality in America is meekness. And yet the greatest Person who ever lived was a meek and humble man—“learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). Jesus exemplified meekness during His first advent, even as He ministered in the power of God. Those who follow Him will also demonstrate meekness, or gentleness as fruit of a Spirit-filled life (Galatians 5:22).

“Meekness” is a humble attitude that expresses itself in the patient endurance of offenses. “Gentleness” is a virtual synonym. It implies leniency and long-suffering.

Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). In contrast, the individual who is not gentle is likened to “a city that is broken into and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Gentleness always uses its resources appropriately, unlike the out-of-control emotions that so often are destructive and have no place in your life as a believer.

And don’t equate gentleness with cowardice, lack of conviction, or mere human niceness. It’s a virtue that draws courage, strength, conviction, and a good disposition from God, not from self-centered human resources.

Gentleness characterizes our Lord Jesus Christ. He always defended God’s glory and ultimately gave Himself in sacrifice for others (see 1 Peter 2:21-23). Jesus didn’t lash back when criticized, slandered, or treated unjustly, but He did respond fittingly and firmly when God’s honor was profaned or His truth was perverted or neglected. He twice cleansed the Temple by force (Matthew 21:12-17; John 2:14-15), and He repeatedly and fearlessly denounced the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 23:13-36; Mark 12:13-40; John 8:12-59; 9:39-41).

When His time of suffering came, however, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and endured the abuse and murderous intentions of the hypocritical leaders. He demonstrated meekness to the very end. “While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).

Like Christ, the gentle person does not defend himself (see 1 Peter 2:21). That’s because he has died to self and therefore does not worry about insult, material loss, or even personal injury. The believer who embraces meekness knows that in himself he does not deserve defending and that, in the long run, all his possessions are not worth fighting for. In that sense, gentleness is the opposite of violence and vengeance.

For some, meekness leads to suffering. “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36). But there is triumph for the meek, even in suffering—“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (v. 37).

Meekness is a path worth following. It may not lead you to a spot on “American Idol” or “Survivor,” you may not win a political campaign, but you’ll find the reward of God is yours in abundance. Jesus promised, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
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Adapted from The Quest for Character, by John MacArthur. © Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

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“Should Christians Be Hospitable to Cult Members?” by John MacArthur

“Should Christians Be Hospitable to Cult Members?”

John MacArthur

In verse 10 John sets out one practical application of how to defend the truth: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house. Hospitality for traveling teachers was common in the culture (cf. Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-12). The prohibition here is not to turn away the ignorant; it does not mean that believers may not invite unbelievers—even those who belong to a cult or false religion—into their midst. That would make giving the truth to them difficult, if not impossible. The point is that believers are not to welcome and provide care for traveling false teachers, who seek to stay in their homes, thereby giving the appearance of affirming what they teach and lending them credibility

John’s use of the conjunction ei (if) with an indicative verb indicates a condition that is likely true. Apparently, the lady to whom he wrote had for whatever reason, in the name of Christian fellowship, already welcomed false teachers into her home. It was just such compassionate, well-meaning people that the false teachers sought out (cf. 2 Tim. 3:6); since churches were supposed to be protected by elders who were skilled teachers of the Word (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9), they should have been less susceptible to”continued at the MacArthur New Testament Commentary series, site…(click here for link). Be sure to listen to the short audio Q and A with John MacArthur.

“Can Believers Forfeit Their Salvation?” – John MacArthur

EXCELLENT INSIGHT BY JOHN MACARTHUR, ON A KEY PASSAGE FROM HEBREWS

“Can Believers Forfeit Their Salvation?”

John MacArthur

Because they believe the warning is addressed to Christians, many interpreters hold that the passage teaches that salvation can be lost. If this interpretation were true, however, the passage would also teach that, once lost, salvation could never be regained. If, after being saved, a person lost his salvation, he would be damned forever. There would be no going back and forth, in and out of grace. But Christians are not being addressed, and it is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.

The believer need never fear he will lose his salvation. He cannot. The Bible is absolutely clear about that. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29). Paul is equally clear. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35, 38–39). “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). We are “to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven,” and we “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4–5). If the power of God cannot keep us, nothing is dependable or trustworthy or worth believing in. A Christian has no reason at any point in his life to believe that his salvation is or can be lost. If by Christ’s death we can be saved, certainly by His life of power and…..continued (Click here for link) at the MacArthur New Testament Commentary series page….You can continue reading this excerpt from his commentary on Hebrews there, and be sure to listen to the few minutes of audio. Great stuff!

John MacArthur: Enjoying Intimate Fellowship With Christ

“Intimacy with Christ”

by John MacArthur

The apostle Paul perfectly expresses the most earnest desire of every true follower of Christ: “That I may know him” (Phil. 3:10).

“Knowing Christ,” in the Pauline sense is not the sort of mystical relationship many people imagine. Paul wasn’t longing for some secret knowledge of Christ beyond what is revealed in Scripture. He wasn’t asking that private messages from Christ be whispered into his ear.

In fact, the knowledge of Christ Paul sought was anything but mystical. What he longed to know was the power of Christ’s resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and conformity to His death.

We err greatly if we think of intimacy with Christ as some lofty level of mysterious, feelings-based communion with the Divine–as if it involved some knowledge of God that goes beyond what Scripture has revealed. That idea is the very heart of the gnostic heresy. It has nothing in common with true Christianity.

Just what do we mean, then, when we speak of intimacy with Christ? How can we pursue knowing Christ the way Paul had in mind in Philippians 3:10? Scripture suggests at least five aspects of true intimacy with Christ:

The Intimacy of Faith

Notice what prompts Paul’s comment about knowing Christ in Philippians 3:10. He had already spent several verses describing his life before Christ (4-6). He cited all the spiritual advantages he enjoyed as a Pharisaic Jew. But then he declared that he had discarded all those spiritual advantages for Christ’s sake: “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (vv. 7-8).

As a Pharisee, Paul had sought to earn God’s favor by legal obedience. But he came to realize that the law sets a standard he could never meet. And so he scrapped all his own works of righteousness as if they were filthy rags (cf. Isa. 64:6). This does not mean that he ceased doing good works, of course, but that he gave up trusting in those works for his salvation. Instead, he put all his faith in Christ–and was clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness instead of his own imperfect works.

This is the doctrine known as justification by faith. Scripture teaches that our sins were imputed to Christ, and He paid the full penalty for them in His death. Now Christ’s own righteousness is imputed to us, and we receive the full merit of it. Without this reality we could enjoy no relationship whatsoever with a holy God.

Moreover, justification by faith–because it means we are clothed in Christ’s own righteousness–establishes the most intimate imaginable relationship between the believer and his Lord. It is an inviolable spiritual union. That’s why Paul often described believers as those who are “in Christ.”

In other words, all true intimacy with Christ has its basis in faith. In fact, no relationship with Him whatsoever is possible apart from faith (Heb. 1:1). As the apostle Peter points out, we love Him by faith, even though we have not seen Him (1 Pet. 1:8).

The Intimacy of True Worship

In Hosea 6:6 the Lord says, “I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

That verse means we should not imagine that worship consists of rote acts of religious ritual–like sacrifices, burnt offerings, and other ceremonies. Instead, we need to realize that real worship is grounded in the true knowledge of God.

If we want God to delight in our worship, we must think rightly about Him. The very essence of idolatry consists in wrong thoughts about God. And conversely, true knowledge of God means knowing Him as He is revealed in Scripture.

To put it another way, sound doctrine, not liturgy and ritual, is the litmus test of whether our worship is acceptable.

Right thinking about God is therefore essential to true intimacy with Him. Anyone who would know Him intimately must know what He has revealed about Himself. And again, this does not mean we should seek some mystical knowledge about God. All we can know with any certainty about God is what is revealed in Scripture. Those who would know the true God in the true way must therefore seek to be thoroughly familiar with His Word.

The Intimacy of Prayer

Jesus himself taught us to seek intimacy with God through private prayer. Prayer is where the worshiper pours out his heart to God. And Jesus Himself stressed the importance of private prayer: “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matt. 6:6).

He was confronting the practice of the Pharisees, who loved to pray publicly, for show. Jesus was not teaching that prayers should never be offered publicly, for there are obviously times when Scripture calls us to corporate prayer.

But the true Christian seeking intimacy with God will pray most often, and most fervently, in private. The true audience of all our prayers is God Himself. And if we understood what an incomprehensible privilege it is to be invited to come boldly before His throne of grace, we would surely spend more time there, pouring out our most intimate thoughts, fears, desires, and expressions of love to Him.

The Intimacy of Obedience

Jesus said to the disciples, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jn. 15:14). Thus Christ Himself made obedience to Him an absolute requirement for true spiritual intimacy.

Let no one claim intimacy with Christ whose life is marked by disobedience rather than submission to Him. Those who refuse to obey Christ as Lord cannot claim to know Him as a friend. Scripture plainly declares that He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36), and He is therefore entitled to demand our allegiance to His Lordship.

As a matter of fact, those who withhold that allegiance are His enemies, not His intimates (cf. Jas. 4:4). That’s why true intimacy with Him is utterly impossible without unconditional surrender to His divine authority.

Again, this takes the matter of intimacy with Christ out of the realm of the mystical and defines it in terms that are intensely practical.

The Intimacy of Suffering

Returning to Philippians 3:10, we note once again what kind of intimacy with Christ Paul was seeking: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”

Of course, we easily understand why Paul wanted a share in the power of Christ’s resurrection. But why did the apostle desire to know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and be conformed to His death?

We can be certain that Paul had no perverse love of pain and suffering. Elsewhere he testified how he repeatedly besought the Lord to deliver him from a “messenger of Satan” that was like a thorn under his skin (2 Cor. 12:7).

In the midst of that experience Paul discovered that God’s grace is sufficient to see us through all our sufferings. Moreover, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (v. 9).

God gives a special measure of grace to those whom He calls to endure suffering. In a familiar passage in the Beatitudes, Jesus said this about suffering:

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matt. 5:10-12).

There is a special blessedness known only to those who suffer for Christ’s sake. Those who would desire true intimacy with Him must be willing to endure what He endured.

Add all those things together to get the full picture: True intimacy with Christ involves suffering, obedience, much prayer, a good knowledge of God’s Word, and a life of faith.

Notice that those are not advanced skills for second-level Christians. They are the most elementary issues of the Christian life. That underscores the truth that intimacy with Christ is not some sort of mystical secret. It is the whole point of our life in Christ. Indeed, it is the chief end for which we were created: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

This article here originally appeared at Grace To You – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

“What Jesus Didn’t Know” – John MacArthur – Morning Scripture Exposition

From the commentary:

Although He was fully God as well as fully man (John 1:1, 14), Christ voluntarily restricted His use of certain divine attributes when He became flesh. “Although He existed in the form of God, [He] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,” that is, to be held onto during His humanness (Phil. 2:6). It was not that He lost any divine attributes but that He voluntarily laid aside the use of some of them and would not manifest those attributes except as directed by His Father (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38).

Jesus demonstrated His divine omniscience on many occasions. “He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25). When, for example, Nicodemus came to Him at night, Jesus already knew what he was thinking and answered his question before it was asked (John 3:13).

But there were certain self-imposed restrictions in His human knowledge. He told the disciples, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). Jesus obediently restricted His knowledge to those things that thecontinued at The MacArthur New Testament Commentary page (click here) There is a short audio and a commentary portion to read.

“What Does It Mean to Be Baptized with the Holy Spirit?” – John MacArthur – Scripture Exposition

John MacArthur

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

Being filled with the Spirit must be distinguished from being baptized with the Spirit. The apostle Paul carefully defines the baptism with the Spirit as that act of Christ by which He places believers into His body (Rom. 6:4–6; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). In contrast to much errant teaching today, the New Testament nowhere commands believers to seek the baptism with the Spirit. It is a sovereign, single, unrepeatable act on God’s part, and is no more an experience than are its companions justification and adoption. Although some wrongly view the baptism with the Spirit as the initiation into the ranks of the spiritual elite, nothing could be further from the truth. The purpose of the baptism with the Spirit is not to divide the body of Christ, but to unify it. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, through the baptism with the Spirit “we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13; cf. Gal. 3:26–27; Eph. 4:4–6).

Unlike the baptism with the Spirit, being filled with the Spirit is an experience……..continue at the MacArthur New Testament Commentary page (Link here). Be sure to listen to the 2 minute audio from Dr. MacArthur.

“How to Give Thanks in Everything” – John MacArthur – Morning Scripture Exposition

John MacArthur

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Being unthankful is the very essence of the unregenerate heart. The apostle Paul identified unbelievers as ungrateful: “For even though they knew God [through conscience and general revelation], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Rom. 1:21). But when God regenerates an individual, He produces a new heart that longs to obey Paul’s injunction and in everything give thanks. That simple, direct statement allows believers no excuses to be ungrateful. In everything….”….continued at the MacArthur Commentary site. Be sure to listen to the 2 minute audio Q and A. (link here)

John MacArthur On: “Casting Pearls before Swine” What Does This Verse Mean? – Morning Scripture Exposition

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7:6)

In biblical times dogs were seldom kept as household pets in the way they are today. Except for those used as working animals to herd sheep, they were largely half-wild mongrels that acted as scavengers. They were dirty, greedy, snarling, and often vicious and diseased. They were dangerous and despised.

It would have been unthinkable for a Jew to have thrown to those dogs a piece of holy meat that had been consecrated as a…”….continued at commentary page where you can listen to a short 2 minute audio and read a portion of the MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Matthew 1-7(link here)

“Who Killed Jesus?” – John MacArthur – Morning Scripture Exposition

“Who Killed Jesus?”

Acts 4:27, Isaiah 53:10, Acts 2:23, Romans 8:28

by John MacArthur

The murder of Jesus was a vast conspiracy involving Rome, Herod, the Gentiles, the Jewish Sanhedrin, and the people of Israel–diverse groups who were seldom fully in accord with one another. In fact, it is significant that the crucifixion of Christ is the only historical event where all those factions worked together to achieve a common goal. All were culpable. All bear the guilt together. The Jews as a race were no more or less blameworthy than the Gentiles.

This is very plainly stated in Acts 4:27, a corporate prayer offered in an assembly of the very earliest believers: “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together.” So there is no justification whatsoever for trying to fix the blame for Jesus’ death on any one people group. This was, in essence, a corporate act of sinful humanity against God. All are guilty together.

And yet even that does not exhaust the full truth about who killed Jesus. Scripture emphasizes from cover to cover that the death of Christ was ordained and appointed by God Himself. One of the key Old Testament prophecies about the crucifixion is Isaiah 53. Isaiah prophetically describes the torture of the Messiah at the hands of a scoffing mob, and then adds, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief” (Isaiah 53:10).

God put his own Son to death?

That is precisely what Scripture teaches. Why? According to Isaiah 53:10 , it was to “make His soul an offering for sin.” God had a redemptive purpose.

The designs of those who killed Christ were entirely murderous. They are by no means exonerated from their evil, just because God’s purposes are good. It was still the act of “lawless hands” (Acts 2:23). It was, as far as the human perpetrators were concerned, an act of pure evil. The wickedness of the crucifixion is in no sense mitigated by the fact that God sovereignly ordained it for good. The truth that it was His sovereign plan makes the deed itself no less a diabolical act of murder.

And yet this was clearly God’s holy and sovereign plan from before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Look again at that prayer from Acts 4, this time in its full context:

Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.” For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done (Acts 4:24-28), emphasis added).

Acts 2:23 echoes the same thought: “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death” (emphasis added).

God ordained the murder of Jesus. Or to put it starkly in the words of Isaiah 53:10, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.

In what sense was God pleased by the death of his Son?

He was pleased by the redemption that was accomplished. He was pleased that His eternal plan of salvation was thus fulfilled. He was pleased with the sacrifice of his Son, who died so that others might have eternal life. He was pleased to display his righteous anger against sin in such a graphic way. He was pleased to demonstrate His love for sinners through such a majestic sacrifice.

For all the evil in the crucifixion, it brought about an infinite good. In fact, here was the most evil act ever perpetrated by sinful hearts: The sinless Son of God–holy God Himself in human flesh–was unjustly killed after being subjected to the most horrific tortures that could be devised by wicked minds. It was the evil of all evils, the worst deed human depravity could ever devise, and the most vile evil that has ever been committed. And yet from it came the greatest good of all time–the redemption of unnumbered souls.

The cross is therefore the ultimate proof of the utter sovereignty of God. His purposes are always fulfilled in spite of the evil intentions of sinners. God even works His righteousness through the evil acts of unrighteous agents. Far from making Him culpable for their evil, this demonstrates how all He does is good, and how He is able to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28)–even the most wicked deed the powers of evil have ever conspired to carry out.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You. – © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.
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Does Living Worthy Of The Gospel Mean Sinless Perfection? – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

“To live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ is to live a life consistent with God’s revealed Word. That includes living a life that corresponds to the divine truth Christians profess to believe, preach, teach, and defend. In other words, it means living with integrity in every facet of life. This mandate is expressed elsewhere in the New Testament as walking ‘in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called’ (Eph. 4:1), ‘in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God’ (Col. 1:10), and ‘in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory’ (1 Thess. 2:12; cf. 4:1). It means ‘showing all good faith so that [believers] will adorn the doctrine of God [their] Savior in every respect’ (Titus 2:10), demonstrating ‘holy conduct and godliness,’ and being ‘diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless’ (2 Peter 3:11, 14).

The church’s greatest testimony before the world is spiritual integrity. When Christians live below the standards of biblical morality and reverence for their Lord, they compromise the full biblical truth concerning the character, plan, and will of God. By so doing, they seriously weaken the credibility of the gospel and lessen their impact on”……..continued at MacArthur Commentary Page (Link here)

What Does It Mean To Be Filled With The Spirit? – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

“Being Filled with the Spirit”

(Ephesians 5)

“Apart from the truth in verse 18, which is the heart of Paul’s message, the book of Ephesians would appear to be legalistic. Every exhortation he gives would have to be fulfilled through the power of the flesh. Believers would need to rely on their own resources and strength to follow the great road map of the Christian life that the apostle presents in chapters 4–6—and would, of course, find themselves completely deficient. Christians cannot walk in humility, unity, separation, light, love, and wisdom apart from the energizing of the Holy Spirit. To walk without the Spirit is to walk unwisely and foolishly (see vv. 15–17). We can “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (5:1) only as we are filled with the Spirit (cf. John 15:5).

In 5:18–21 Paul first presents the contrast of the way of the flesh with the way of the Spirit. The way of the flesh is characterized by the pagan religion out of which many of the Ephesian believers had come, a religion that centered around drunken, immoral orgies of supposed ecstasy, in which a person tried to progressively elevate himself into communion with the gods. It is the way of self, pride, immorality, greed, idolatry, confusion, deception, fantasy, falsehood, and even demonism. It is the way of darkness and foolishness (see 5:3–17).

In vv. 18b–21 the apostle gives the other side of the contrast—the godly walk of God’s children that expresses itself in the Spirit–controlled life and worship of beauty and holiness. He first gives the central command of the epistle (which is the focal point of the New Testament for believers) and follows it with an outline of the consequences of obedience to that command.

but be filled with the Spirit, (5:18b)

Although Paul was not present when the Holy Spirit manifested Himself so powerfully at….” continued at commentary page (Link here)

“What Is the Purpose of the Lord’s Prayer?” – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

“After warning against those perversions that had so corrupted Jewish prayer life, our Lord gives a divine pattern by which kingdom citizens can pray in a way that is pleasing to God.

That the prayer Jesus is about to give was not meant to be repeated as a prayer itself is clear for several reasons. First, in the present passage it is introduced with the words, Pray, then, in this way. In the account in Luke the disciples did not ask Jesus to teach them a prayer but to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Houtos oun (then, in this way) means literally, “Thus therefore,” and frequently carried the idea of “along these lines” or “in the following manner.” Second, Jesus had just warned His followers not to pray with “meaningless repetition” (v. 7). To then give a prayer whose primary purpose was to be recited verbatim would have been an obvious contradiction of Himself. Third, nowhere in the New Testament-gospels, Acts, or epistles-do we find an instance of that or any other prayer being repeated by anyone or”……..continued at MacArthur Commentary Page (Link Here) The audio Q and A is really great!

“Was Jesus Polite to False Teachers?” – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

“Many Christians today are greatly concerned about the rising influences of communism, humanism, secularism, and social injustice. Yet those evils, great as they are, do not together pose the threat to Christianity that false shepherds and pastors do. Throughout the history of redemption, the greatest threat to God’s truth and God’s work has been false prophets and teachers, because they propose to speak in His name. That is why the Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved for the false teachers of Israel, who claimed to speak and act for God but were liars.

Yet for some reason, evangelical Christianity is often hesitant to confront false teachers with the seriousness and severity that Jesus and the apostles did, and that the godly prophets before them had done. Today, more than at any time in modern history and perhaps more than at any time in the history of the church, pagan religions and cults are seriously encroaching on societies that for centuries have been nominally Christian. Even within the church, many”….continued (link here) at commentary page

“How To Contend For The Faith” – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

“Jude initially made every effort to write regarding the common salvation he shared with his readers. Effort (spoude) connotes hastening or speed, and could mean Jude hurried in vain to write, or that he tried hard but could not complete what he originally planned to say. Whatever the case, the presence of false teaching restrained him, impressing him with the urgent need to call the church to battle. His initial notion was to speak positively of the shared blessings of salvation. But that very salvation was under assault by apostates, hence his change of subjects.

Like Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians, “For necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16, nkjv), Jude felt the necessity—a heavy burden or mandate—to write. Agcho, the root of the noun rendered necessity, means literally “compress.” Jude recognized that he was a watchman for the truth (cf. Ezek. 3:16–21) who could not simply watch in silence as his readers slipped into error. His fervent passion for sound doctrine, especially regarding the gospel, made even the thought of false teaching a heavy burden on his heart (cf. 2 Cor. 11:28). And he and his readers would not be able to share a common salvation if they lost the gospel.

Jude also had a deep love for his readers—meaning that he was dedicated to their spiritual well-being. Accordingly his tone conveyed a genuine care similar to that of Paul, who wrote to the Ephesian elders: “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears” (Acts 20:31; cf. Col. 1:29).
Jude could not resist appealing (parakaleo, “exhorting, encouraging”) to his readers that they contend earnestly for the faith. The powerful expression contend earnestly translates”
….continued at commentary page (link here)

“Against Compromise” by John MacArthur

“Against Compromise”

by John MacArthur

It was Martin Luther who said:

“The world at the present time is sagaciously discussing how to quell the controversy and strife over doctrine and faith, and how to effect a compromise between the Church and the Papacy. Let the learned, the wise, it is said, bishops, emperor and princes, arbitrate. Each side can easily yield something, and it is better to concede some things which can be construed according to individual interpretation, than that so much persecution, bloodshed, war, and terrible, endless dissension and destruction be permitted.

Here is lack of understanding, for understanding proves by the Word that such patchwork is not according to God’s will, but that doctrine, faith and worship must be preserved pure and unadulterated; there must be no mingling with human nonsense, human opinions or wisdom.

The Scriptures give us this rule: ‘We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).”


It is interesting to speculate what the church would be like today if Martin Luther had been prone to compromise. The pressure was heavy on him to tone down his teaching, soften his message, stop poking his finger in the eye of the papacy. Even many of his friends and supporters urged Luther to come to terms with Rome for the sake of harmony in the church. Luther himself prayed earnestly that the effect of his teaching would not be divisive.

When he nailed his 95 Theses to the door, the last thing he wanted to do was split the church.

Yet sometimes division is fitting, even healthy, for the church. Especially in times like Luther’s–and like ours–when the visible church seems full of counterfeit Christians, it is right for the true people of God to declare themselves. Compromise is sometimes a worse evil than division. Second Corinthians 6:14-17 isn’t speaking only of marriage when it says,

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
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This article here originally appeared at Grace To You © 1969-2011. Grace to You. All rights reserved. www.gty.org
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“How Do Believers Resist the Devil?” – Morning Scripture Exposition From John MacArthur

Exposition From 1 Peter 5 by Pastor/Teacher John MacArthur

“Peter commands Christians to have a mind that is resolute and to resist Satan by being firm in their faith. Such resistance causes the devil to “flee from you” (James 4:7). Resist means “to take a stand against,” and to be firm is to make that stand solid (the Greek is stereos, from which comes the English stereo, meaning “solid,” or balanced at both ends). That is done by being solidly fixed on the faith (te pistei), which is biblical revelation. It is the whole body of revealed truth contained in Scripture (cf. Gal. 1:23; Eph. 4:5, 13; Phil. 1:27; 1 Tim. 4:1). This is a call to know and believe sound doctrine, to be discerning in distinguishing truth from error, and to be willing to defend the truth and expose error. Jude’s call is most appropriate in this connection: “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). It is that “once-for-all” faith which is the inscripturated revelation of God and constitutes the faith on which believers stand solidly and from which they continually resist Satan. This strong stand is the result of the faithful leading of shepherds in the church, as Paul indicates in Ephesians 4:11–14,
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.

Since Satan is a liar (John 8:44; cf. Gen. 3:1; 2 Thess. 2:9) and a”…continued at MacArthur Commentary Site (click here for link)

“What Does It Mean to Be, ‘Unequally Yoked?'” Morning Scripture Expostion From John MacArthur

John MacArthur’s exposition on 2 Corinthians 6 begins,

“Believers and unbelievers inhabit two opposing worlds. Christians are in Christ’s kingdom, which is characterized by righteousness, light, and eternal life. Unbelievers are in Satan’s kingdom, characterized by lawlessness, darkness, and spiritual death. The saved and the unsaved have different affections, beliefs, principles, motives, goals, attitudes, and hopes. In short, they view life from opposing perspectives.

Consequently, relationships between believers and unbelievers are at best limited to the temporal and external. They may enjoy family ties, work at the same job, share in business relationships, live in the same community, experience the same hobbies and pastimes, and even agree on certain political and social issues. But on the spiritual level, believers and unbelievers live in two completely different worlds.

The Corinthians had struggled greatly to make a clean break from the idolatrous and immoral lifestyle of their past. Despite having professed faith in Christ and become part of the church, some in the congregation were still clinging to elements of their pagan religion. And though they, like the Thessalonians, had “turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9), still they failed to make a clean break with their idolatrous past. The lure of their former paganism, which permeated every aspect of life in Corinth, had proven hard to shake, as Paul’s first epistle to them makes evident.

Making matters worse, the false teachers who had come to the church brought with them a quasi-Christian syncretism of gospel truth, Jewish legalism, and pagan mysticism. They were eager to stay connected to the Corinthians’ former behavior, to make themselves more popular and, thereby, more prosperous…..continued on the MacArthur Commentary page(link here)