Saturday, April 20, 2019


Part 2

 Jack Davis

Psalm 147:10-11, “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

The Word of God teaches of the full provision, power and Person of pleasing God. We each are blessed with some things we may do for, with, in and by Him, if we will just submit to His will and wonder-working power. His first request from us, “Give me thine heart.” He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…” We do well to let Him work.

Our apostle’s prayer in Hebrews thirteen is that the “God of peace…” would make the saints “perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” – V. 20.

Our loving Father does not ask any thing of us, for which He does not fully provide. Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing” John 15:5. Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Phil. 4:13. We who read of Him that has begun a good work in us, must count on Him to perform or complete it in view of the day of Christ.

Consider II Thess. 1:10-12, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Oh, glory to God what a wonderful day is coming! Let us know in our hearts that there is indeed an exceeding great power at work in us, and choose to yield to His marvelous working.

As we look unto Him for the “to will and to do of His good pleasure,” we must realize that He was not seeking a mechanical obedience from the likes of robots or puppets, because He delights in living, loving cooperation.

The “to will and to do” of our Lord’s good pleasure” should not be a thing of constant struggle, but it seems that for most of us, most of our lives, IT IS. We read in Psalm 37:4 & 23; “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. The steps of a good man are ordered by the lord: and he delighteth in his way.” It seems that we do not want to let Him give us His want to. We are wise to thank Him, and expect Him to put His desires in our hearts. How can He produce from our lives to “do” of His good pleasure if we resist His will?

In the past, for myself, I have used this rule. If I can take a little congratulatory pleasure to myself for doing or not doing something, then in a general sense, the Lord hasn’t done it, and won’t be pleased or glorified in it at all.

We read of several in the Old Testament that seemed to do the right thing in the wrong way, or with the wrong attitude. Yet we also read of those that did not always do things exactly right according to the Law, but with a heart that was right toward God. Who pleased God? Matt. 12:18.

Matthew 12:18, “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.”

Matthew 3:16-17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

Jesus is the one man that could say, “I do always those things that please him: John 8:29. Considering the course of His public ministry from beginning to the end, we know that He please the Father. It was prophesied, “The pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hands” – Isa. 53:10. We are admonished, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” – Phil. 2:5.

Hebrews 10:6-7, “In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” II Cor. 6:16, “… God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Reading about Jesus pleasing the Father, we come to realize how it is possible that our lives may be pleasing to God. We are blessed to have the Christ life, treasure placed in these earthen vessels, when we accept Jesus as our Savior. II Cor. 4:7, “…we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

He is our life, It is Christ in us, that determines our only hope of glory. Paul said, “…Christ liveth in me…I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” – Gal. 2:20, Therefore the life of our Lord Jesus Christ in us, submitted to, is indeed a sweet-smelling savor unto God. His life developed in us, makes us pleasing to the triune God.


Anita Clark, Pastor Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas

“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. Bur I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” II Corinthians 11:1-3

The Apostle Paul was given a special message for the church, that of preparation of the Bride of Jesus Christ. Here he speaks of a “chaste virgin,” which means “clean, modest, pure, innocent.” None of us can achieve these spiritual attributes by our own strength. Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:7). As we allow Him to work in us, the characteristics of Christ are manifested in us and from us. “Virgin” speaks of the character of a yielded Christian letting the pure and holy life of Christ be ruling in their daily lives.

Apostle Paul was concerned that “As Satan beguiled Eve with his subtilty,” he would pervert our minds from yielding to Christ Jesus also. The key part of this Scripture which shows how Satan works to defeat us as believers is, “ your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” In Genesis 3:1-19, Eve was tricked by the serpent (Satan) by getting her to reason in her mind. He caused her to question God’s real intent, in declaring they should not eat of the forbidden tree. He seduced her in her thinking. I Timothy says that Eve was deceived or deluded, which means to impose a misleading belief upon someone, and to deceive and fool. Satan gained “mind control” over Eve. This is the subject of this message.

Satan is continuing his deception today to believers and unbelievers. Just as he did with Eve, he does with us also, by placing a question in our mind, Genesis 3:1, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” He appealed to her mind and by that put her mind in opposition to God and what He said. One writer says, “He appealed to the ability of the human mind to think creatively on it’s own, outside of God’s influence and spiritual direction.” From that time the human mind acted in opposition to the Spirit, which brought disharmony at the core of man’s being. The nature of man was changed and he now has an old sin nature.

Today the devil manipulates the minds of God’s people. We all know that sometimes when we’re sitting in a spiritual meeting - Bible Study or other Godly meeting, how easy it is for our minds to wander. Jesus said, “When anyone heareth the Word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one (Satan) and catcheth away that which was sown in the heart” Matthew 13:19. Thoughts contrary to God are triggered by Satan. Some of his methods are causing your thoughts to stray away while you’re trying to take in the Word of God, and he tries to get you to forget the Scripture and not remember the promises of God. He introduces new thoughts, trying to turn your attention away from what God’s minister is bringing to you. If we are undisciplined in controlling our thoughts by the power of the Spirit, it makes us vulnerable to the devil’s whispers. He is constantly triggering thoughts to keep you away from thinking on God and the Word.

Ephesians 6:12 speaks of the Spiritual warfare we go through with the devil. It says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” If you find yourself wrestling against flesh and blood, Satan has deceived you. Another person is not your enemy. Our battle is with Satan and his imps- “rulers of darkness,” who have set themselves against us. Satan is in all out war against every believer in their thoughts of their minds. If Satan can control people’s thoughts, he can control them. When we accept the thoughts that he suggests, then he has achieved his purpose. We as Christians must recognize who our enemy is, or we are vulnerable to His attacks. Satan is in an all out war against every believer. The battleground is the thought life of the Christian.

In Philippians 4:6, Apostle Paul admonishes us “Be careful for nothing.” The Amplified Version interprets it, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything.” Satan will try his best to defeat us by bringing many worries and problems to our minds. Sometimes we are burdened with the trial and test and we try to figure out the solution in our minds.

Satan will keep bringing past failures of ourselves and others to our minds especially when we’re trying to sleep. One of the great remedies, from my experience in trials and deep testing to gain that peace in our minds that we need is the truth that this portion of Philippians declares. When we are being tempted and tossed by life and we can’t get our minds off some horrible thing that is happening to us or our loved ones, these Scriptures really work to bring that needed victory.

Apostle Paul continues to say, “... in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When thoughts are disturbing you and keeping you awake, Call out to God in supplication, and the results will be according to the next verse which says, “And the peace of God, which passeth understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have had that problem when my mind was so full of the trial and test that I could not think of anything else; so bad that I could not sleep, when My mind was about to be totally overcome, that the words of Vs. 8 came to me, “think on these things.” My overcoming was to deliberately put my mind on some spiritual truth and constantly bring my mind back to that each time I would fall back on the thought of the horrible trial that had entangled me though almost to utter defeat. I found victory over this circumstance and walked on with triumph through Christ. I decided that I would no longer listen to Satan’s taunts of what had befell my life. If we want to gain victory over the devil, we must bring our minds into the captivity of Christ. Satan and his power has no dominion over me! Praise the Lord! “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” Phil. 4:13.

What Are You Worth?

Forasmuch as ye know  that ye were not redeemed  with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1 Peter 1:18.

I often think that some of God’s precious people do not understand how much they are worth to God. They are constantly worried that God might strike them down for any little thing. The most freeing aspect of being a believer is understanding our position in God’s family.

Most people that have become parents will tell you that their children are the most precious thing to them. How much more do you think God’s children are precious to Him? In the verse above, we find out just what it cost Him to bring you into His family. Silver and gold may be considered valuable to men, but the blood of His Son was the most valuable thing to God. He gave that which was most valuable to Him to purchase you and me.

No person could pay the required price, because it was far above anything that we have. “None of them can by any means  redeem  his brother, nor give  to God a ransom for him:   (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth  for ever:)” Psa. 49:7-8.

None of this is intended, nor should it, cause us to think of ourselves above what we are, or to be puffed up with pride about ourselves. It is all to God’s glory. “For ye are bought  with a price: therefore glorify  God in your body, and in your spirit, which are  God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20.

What I do want is to remind you that you are worth a lot to God. I want you to know that God values you so much that He will do only what is absolutely best for you. Romans 8:28. I know there is an enemy that would like to make you think that God is out to hurt you, to make your life more difficult, to strike you down.

Maybe it is a result of our culture that we think that any time something does not go the way we want, that we are being persecuted or abandoned by God. God’s love is demonstrated in His continual working to make us more like His Son Jesus. Changing us from glory to glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18.

We may be unwilling sometimes to equate hardship or trials with love, but that is because we cannot see what God sees. This brings us to the main point of knowing how valuable we are to God. If indeed God places such great value on His children, should we not trust Him completely for our lives? Instead of complaining about our circumstances, let us turn to God and look to Him for His best.

Is there correction from our heavenly Father? Certainly; it is part of His great love for us. Hebrews 12:5-11. Remember that God loves you and you are very precious to Him. He will not leave you nor forsake you. He will always have your best interest in mind and under control.

Gordon Crook

LIVING THINGS – The Word of God

E. C. Richards

John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Certainly a sure token of life is creative power. People are called creative that paint a picture, sculpture stone, sew a fine seam, make a new machine. They must all start with something, and the Word starts with nothing and makes all things.  So, the Word is person, God, in fact, even though He became the man Jesus Christ. He acted quite lively, even “Wondrously,” as He did in the presence of Samson’ parents. We spend much of our time gawking at what He has made in this temporary creation and admire it quite a bit. This all adds up to life, as a prime name He has taken is the Word.

Heb. 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word has been made available in a form that our minds can use though not of themselves only, known as writing. We see here that it enters into the innermost part of man and shows him what he is, when sin prevents a rational understanding in himself, of himself. It has to be a very superior kind of life that reveals to the spirit of man more of himself than he knows about himself. We are always impressed by superior knowledge and here is the living word coming forth very impressively.

I Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Here we learn that the very beginning of our spiritual life, and it is life, is by the word of God. It is a good birth, a birth starting a permanent life, and a life that God can accept.

In Roman 10:8-9, it gives the reality of the life-giving ability of the word as “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” The ease of salvation from sin into God’s kingdom is by the might of the word of God, brought to us through preaching, with faith accompanying it. It produces amazing and lasting results, those of life. That’s how the spiritually dead can live – because of their submitting to a living force, the word. Children can receive life, sometimes with more ease than adults, because of their yielding to this force without quibbling over things with a finite mind. Many kinds of people, in fact all kinds, can partake of this living thing. The word is powerful and able to impart life to every one believing it.

In Matt. 4, the temptation of Jesus by Satan gives the power of the written word to overcome this terrible enemy. V. 4, “…It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” And V. 7, “…It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” And V. 10 “…Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,  Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” It is wonderful to see here, the Word using the written word so skillfully and revealing to His children the means for overcoming this heinous enemy. It is our tool, and the Bible has it contained in its few pages (few for so much power and wisdom) for our use in overcoming.

John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” So the Master, Himself, gave it in the proverbial nutshell, the living propensity of the word, and its power to not only give life, but to develop it as food does in the natural. The spiritual man lives by the impartation of the word of God, and we can’t analyze it as we do natural food. The food does its work without us thinking about it, and so does the word of God in the smooth hidden way. That is why the wise child of God stays close to the word in private and church life. The enemy ever tries to divert us from this.

I Peter 1:25, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” This living message, the gospel, is also the word for this age. We well know the life it gives by the myriads of people joined in the earth to the church. This is in spite of all the opposition, imitation, and corruption of truth; the living word still begets and sustains spiritual life. This is proof of its living quality. How marvelous it is to observe the swaying of humanity by the great Spirit of God to His word and bringing them into life and His kingdom and preparing them for the great future He has for the believers in the word. We are blessed indeed, considering all the negative things this world brings contrary to God and His ways. Praise God we were enabled out of death to grasp this precious element of life while passing through this earth scene.

Ps. 107:20, “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” The healing power of the word for all three parts of man, herein is revealed by the example-people of God, Israel of old, and it is still so. It is a healer; that is part of its power. Our worst enemy, death, is even to be healed by the resurrection we believe in now. Remember the Roman centurion of Jesus’ day expressed confidence that Jesus could heal solely by the spoken word, and Jesus did just that. So, Jesus, the person, is not with us, but the “logos” or expression of Him, the word, is and still can heal us of the wounds of sin in our whole being. Amen!

What did the old warrior of the gospel, Paul, cry out in last instructions to Timothy, and all following ministers for this church age? II Tim. 4:2, “Preach the word…” That is because it is life and the important thing of church in spite of its competitors for the center stage in church worship or activity. Bless the Lord!

Rev. 19:13, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” The climactic name of Jesus when He comes to take over the earth as supreme monarch, is just this life character of Himself, the Word of God. How fortunate we are to have a part in this life-giving coming forth of God. Amen!

Blessed Assurance

Gary Giddings, Pastor Church of the Full Gospel, Sand Lake, Michigan

The well-known classic hymn “Blessed Assurance” includes these words: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.”

We like the good feelings that come from trusting and following the Lord. We like it when God’s love overwhelms us and His peace fills our soul, but those feelings aren’t always there. We don’t always feel that “perfect delight” or that we are “happy and blest.” But we are learning to trust God no matter what our feelings are. As we follow Jesus our Savior, we learn that feelings come and go but the Word of God is sure, steady and never changes. As the Psalmist wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

I Thess. 1:5 “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” The Word of God gives us the assurance we need to follow Jesus and to do His will. According to the Strong’s concordance, the word assurance comes from the Greek word plerophoria (#4136) which occurs in the New Testament only four times. In this occurrence, it describes the way in which the Apostle Paul and Silas ministered the Gospel to the Thessalonians: with “entire confidence” (Strong) or with “certain confidence” (Thayer).

They went to the synagogue in Thessalonica “and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.” (Acts 17:2-3). The Apostle Paul wasn’t pushy but he reasoned with them out of the Scripture that Jesus is the Messiah. He relied on the power of the Spirit as he ministered to the Thessalonians. It was with assurance that Paul and Silas joyfully shared the message of Jesus with them. What was the result? Not all, but “some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few” (Acts 17:4).

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.” Those that believed on Jesus as Savior gained this assurance even though they faced persecution from others. The work of the Word and the Holy Spirit in their lives gave them joy and they became good examples of the faith.

(ASSURANCE #2) Colossians 2:1-3, “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Paul didn’t plant a church meeting in Colosse or in Laodicea, but he ministered to them by letter to help them in their faith. What was Paul’s concern here? He wanted them to know the riches of the full assurance of understanding as they acknowledged God.

The message of the Gospel means that our hearts are engaged and motivated with the love of God and so we can appreciate more of who He is and what He is doing. It is by knowing and understanding more about Jesus that we become eternally rich. True wisdom and knowledge begin with and are continued by relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Theology was called “Queen of the Sciences” in early universities because the Bible was honored as the true Word of God. Science basically means knowledge and so the knowledge of God and His relations with us became the standard by which scholarship was measured. What do universities use for their standard today? Sadly, the Word of God has been replaced with the word of man (and man makes a poor god!). Instead of acknowledging God, they rejected Him. By professing themselves to be wise (apart from God), they became fools (Romans 1:22).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. Which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (I Tim. 6:20-21). When professors of modern science directly oppose the Word of God, it shows how foolish they are (even with their many “academic honors”).

(ASSURANCE #3) Hebrews 6:10-12, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Assurance is “confidence” and hope is “confident expectation.” We can have “confidence in our confident expectation” by God’s Word. We know that we know that Jesus is our Savior and that our sins are forgiven (and the Spirit bears witness with us, Rom. 8:16). There are times when we don’t feel so inspired. But living for the Lord is a “work and labor of love.” We don’t work to be saved, but we do good works for the Lord because we are saved. What keeps us going? HOPE.

Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Titus 2:13, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;”

(ASSURANCE #4) Hebrews 10:19-22, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” It is ONLY through Jesus that we can come to God the Father. Jesus Himself is that “new and living way” by which we pray to the Father IN JESUS’ NAME. Because of Jesus we can confidently draw near to God. Every day is another day to learn how to TRUST God more than we did the day before.

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

II Timothy 2:11-13, “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

Hebrews 10:23-25, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Because God gives us the assurance of understanding, hope and faith, we can be the people that He wants us to be. He also gives us assurance as we minister the Gospel to others in a loving and honest way. God gives us brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can encourage one another as we fellowship around the Word of God. We agree with what God says about Himself and about His relationship with us, and this is our victory!


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free; and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Gal. 5:1)
Another translation reads: For this freedom, Christ set us free. Keep standing firm therefore, and stop being held again by a yoke of bondage. (Kenneth Wuest)
There are two admonitions in this verse. Each admonition has two parts. Everything centers around what we see; what we choose to see, what we see by faith, what we see by grace. If we don’t see these things, then we are unable to stand fast, unable to keep standing in the freedom we have through what Christ has done. I have divided the verse in the following way.
The First Admonition asks us to See our Liberty: Stand fast therefore in the liberty and to See our Liberator: wherewith Christ hast made us free. The Second Admonition asks us to See the Trap: and be not entangled again, and to See the Yoke: with the yoke of bondage. If we do not see these things, how can we stand for them and in them? The Apostle Paul knows that if the saints see both the deliverance and the danger that they will be equipped to stand against the false doctrines and teachings that have crept into the assemblies.
The First Admonition: See the Liberty: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty.” Paul begins with our liberty and our responsibility to defend that liberty and to walk in that liberty. The responsibility does not rest only upon the one who teaches but also upon the one who has been taught. Paul stood fast by teaching this and they were to stand fast by believing this.
“Stand fast therefore” – In the Greek, “stand fast” is perfect tense, and speaks of a completed action. It emphasizes what is going on in the present and it has ongoing results. We begin by standing and we continue to stand, and we never stop standing. This emphasizes how we are to stand. It means “to persevere, to persist” and “to stand firm.” We are to be firm and unwavering in our stand. Paul says, “Stand fast therefore.” There are no wasted or unnecessary words. Paul is explaining both when and why we do this. Strong’s translates “therefore” as “now” – Now stand fast! or “because these things are so.” – Stand fast because these things are so! Several translations read “keep on standing firm.” This is how the Galatian saints had begun. It is how we all begin but the adversary will try to weaken this stand. We are to keep on standing despite what others say to dissuade, deter or deceive. This is the true test of our faith because over time we can become weary, worn down by battles, feel tempted to relax that stand. Paul has stated the Galatian saints began by obeying the truth but were no longer obeying the truth. They had been bewitched (Gal.3:1), now they were hindered (Gal.5:7). Both had the same devastating consequence of not obeying the truth. The truth is the truth of our liberty in Christ.
God’s children must be willing to stand against and stand for the truth. We do both. We stand against the teaching of Legality and we stand for the teaching of Liberty. Standing is a necessary part of our testimony and it is similar to being “steadfast” and “immoveable” (ICor.15:58). The strength to do this comes from the revelation we receive through the Word by the Spirit. This comes from heart knowledge not head knowledge. We know this liberty is real, we see it, believe it and have experienced it.
There are so many different ways that we are to stand and different things that we stand for that the Apostle Paul shows us in his epistles. We stand fast in faith (ICor.16:13); We stand fast in one spirit (Unity) (Phil.1:27); We stand in the Lord (Phil.4:1; IThes.3:8); We stand against the devil (Eph.6:11); We withstand and stand (Eph.6:13); We stand with our loins girt about in truth (Eph.6:14); We stand fast and hold the traditions [teachings found in Paul’s epistles] (IIThes.2:15). Standing fast is not easy, but what a glorious reward is realized and revealed in our growth as saints.
John Phillips: “Stand!” he cries, “Stand fast!” It is one of Paul’s great rallying cries in his epistles. “Stand firm! Plant your feet!” It would bring to mind the Roman way of waging war. When faced by wild, undisciplined enemy hordes, the Romans simply locked their shields together, planted their feet firmly on the ground, and presented to the charging enemy an iron wall of steel and resolution. That is the kind of stand that we must take against error. We must not yield a single point. Truth is truth; error is error. The two are at war. There must be no giving in on a single issue where error is involved. Paul, the most conciliatory of men, would never compromise when it came to truth.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty” – Once we are told to stand, Paul shows us where we stand, it is “in the liberty” that is already ours as children of God. It is translated: “In [this] freedom” (Amplified); “For this freedom” (Wuest) and “What the Messiah has freed us for is freedom!” (Complete Jewish Bible).
The Greek word for “liberty” comes from “unrestrained;” “not a slave” and means “freedom.” Paul in Galatians shows that we are no longer servants, we are sons. This is our privilege, it is our security in Christ and our standing in Christ. This the foundation upon which our faith rests! This is the same Greek word translated “free” in Gal.4:31. We are free! We are free from the Law! Paul has already revealed that the Law was a Taskmaster (Gal.3:23) and a Schoolmaster (Gal.3:24). It was for children that were minors, that needed a guardian. It was for those that had no freedom to act on their own. It was for those that had to move within a set of rules and restrictions. I remember the rules my parents had when I was growing up. I had to go to bed at a certain time, had to get up at a certain time, had to make my bed, had to clean my room, had to do my chores. I could not go somewhere without asking permission and if my parents did not approve, I did not go. All of those rules taught me something but as long as I was a child, I obeyed. Paul is reminding these Galatians (and us) that we have a new status, that of adult sons. Those that were adults had no need for a Schoolmaster or Taskmaster. Grace continues to teach us and guide us but as full-grown sons and not little children. Paul will go on to show them how to use and not misuse this liberty (Gal.5:13).
Paul has already reminded the Galatians earlier of false brethren that came to observe their liberty and look for ways to weaken it and bring them into bondage. Paul took a stand and would not give them a place and would not submit to them (Gal.2:4-5). Now it is their turn, now it is their responsibility to take a stand because Paul is not there.
John Phillips: Free! Paul was writing mostly to slaves. Rome’s iron heel ground most men into the mud. Even as he penned these words, armor-clad Roman soldiers clanked past his door. The harsh commands of a centurion could be heard above the tramp of marching men. Most of Paul’s converts were slaves. Christianity took its first, firmest, and fastest root among slaves. If millions of people in those days shared one great, common desire, it was the desire to be free. Free! He was writing to people who, whatever their physical and material state, had been set free spiritually by Christ. The very word that he used, liberty spoke volumes. It spoke of manumission from slavery. “Free!” says Paul. You have been purchased! You are the property of the Son of God. Nobody has any right to enslave you again. Which, of course, was just what the legalists were trying to do. They were trying to shackle Christ’s freemen with the chains of the Law.
Part 2 – next issue