Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Difficulty of Doing Good – Titus 3:1-2



Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. (NASU)

Paul just finished with a brief statement that revealed a significant amount of underlying theology. In 2:15, he told us to declare it with all authority. “Sound theology has a way of doing that [taking a great load off your mind],” says Linus in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz that has been printed and reprinted many time since the 1950s. If theology doesn’t do that as well as teach us how to live correctly, then it isn’t good theology. So Paul sandwiches some practical advice between his delivery of good theology in the last chapter and that to come in this chapter. It starts with reminding us how our theology should show up in everyday practice.

Remind Them

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. (2 Peter 1:12 NKJV)

Paul isn’t the only one who used reminders. Peter acknowledged that his readers already knew the truths that he was teaching but also reminded them again so they would not stumble (2 Peter 1:10). Jude also reminded his readers (Jude 5). Paul often wrote told his audience to remember things: the way he lived (1 Cor 4:17); the fundamentals of the Gospel (1 Cor 15:1-8); to not neglect one’s spiritual gift (2 Tim 1:6); Jesus’ trustworthiness (2 Tim 2:11-14). 

They forgot the Lord their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. (Judg 8:34 NLT)

This is the primary reason we need to be reminded. We tend to get wrapped up in the busyness of life and forget the Lord and all He has done. This especially happens in times of prosperity. Paul reminded the Corinthians that things that happened to the Israelites are bad examples given to us so that we don’t have to make the same mistakes; He always provides a way out (1 Cor 10:6-13). 

Submission to Authority

And all the people of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! (Num 14:2 RSV)

The life of Israel was a yo-yo of obedience and disobedience. The cycle of disobedience and grumbling started even before they left Egypt, continued before they crossed the Red Sea, and peaked when told to invade Canaan. What is grumbling except disobedience or an unwillingness to submit to authority, even when that authority comes directly from God? 

This is exactly what the Bible tells us over and over. In Deuteronomy 17:12-13 a person who would not obey the priests was to be killed for his rebellion and as a deterrent for others. Proverbs 24:21 (NIV) warns against those who want to rebel against God and king. Jesus didn’t rebel against Roman rule but expressed the principle that they had the right to tax people because that was their domain (Matt 22:21). Paul expanded on this explaining God has established governments and we need to be in a right relationship to their authority (Rom 13:1-7). He also urged us to pray for our government leaders so that we could lead quiet and peaceful lives (1 Tim 2:1-2). Peter also commanded us to submit to authority as a means of silencing slander (1 Peter 2:13-17). 

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge.” (Acts 4:19 NASB)

How much harder is it for us to submit to government authority when it is wicked? It seems wearisome to have to bring this up, because some distort it and try to imagine that anything from paying income tax to using federal land without paying for it are all areas where it is legitimate to disobey the government. (Translation: I don’t like the governments imposition on me so I will disobey; I know better than the government.) So it needs to be addressed whenever we talk about submission to authorities, I also must point out that we also have a duty to resist when the government clearly asks us to violate God’s law. Notice, though, that Peter and John were willing to submit to the punishment of the authorities when they said, “Judge for yourselves.” A short time later, after disobeying the authority’s command not to preach in the name of Jesus, they were beaten and rejoiced about it (Acts 5:40-41). 

The tough decision is when to disobey. I’m reminded that during WW II, many Germans knew that Jews were being slaughtered and did nothing. A 2011 verdict was reached against John Demjanjuk who served as a guard with no evidence in any specific killing. The result of that decision is that serving in any capacity in those death camps can now be prosecuted.[1] A cook or a clerk drafted into the army has no choice to where or when to serve. According to this precedence, prosecutors are implying that they should have faced court martial and possible execution themselves rather than obeying their evil authorities. Why then, are the people who supplied food for the camps not prosecuted? Were they any less responsible? I am not saying this in any way to suggest that blind obedience is OK. I’m just trying to point out that it may not be as easy to disobey or know when to obey as we would like to believe. 

Bring this home with abortions. What would happen if by some miracle, this country woke up and realized that abortions have murdered more people than the holocaust? Would the courts start prosecuting those involved? Even if that doesn’t happen, do we drive by a clinic that provides abortions every day and say or do nothing? Is a nurse who works in the cardiology center of a publicly funded hospital where abortions are performed just as culpable as the nurse who helps perform an abortion? Should everyone from the janitorial staff and accounting people to the doctors who believe abortion to be wrong quit when they discover that abortions are performed at their facility? Maybe if they did, along with every supplier refusing to sell to them, the abortions would stop. God will judge and what will His verdict be? 

Ready for Good Deeds

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:58 ESV)

We may not always understand when to disobey governments, but there is one thing that we can know and do. We can be ready to do good. I can imagine that some people are providentially placed in organizations or government agencies where evil occurs, people like Joseph or Daniel. It may be significant in that they are working to reverse evil practices such as torture or quietly counsel someone against getting an abortion. It could have been an SS prison guard who treated prisoners with respect and tried to help them in some way. It may be someone like Irena Sendler, who smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto where they faced certain death. She worked within the system to get the children out and paid dearly for her actions when caught by the Nazis.[2]

Paul admonishes us to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (Col 3:17). We are very fortunate in the U.S. At this time, we are free to quit a job if it isn’t honoring to the Lord. If our work is a burden, perhaps we need to look at it through the eyes of the Lord and find a way to make it honoring to the Lord. It was said of Brother Lawrence, “His greatest business did not divert him from God.”[3]

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:9-10 NIV)

Sometimes it seems like everything is going the wrong way. The government, society, even churches seem to be in opposition to what we believe is doing good. Sometimes, we continue to work for a good cause and see no results. At these times it is easy to turn inward and only to other Christians. Paul affirms that we should be especially kind to other believers, but his first command is to do good for all people. The temptation is to give up, but he has reminded us that our labor will not be in vain (1 Cor 15:58) and now he says we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. 

The Contrast

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. (Rom 12:17-18 NASU)



In between Paul’s reminders of how to do good, he says not to malign anyone. What a contrast between the way the world acts and the way we should act. Rather than malicious actions and words, we must not retaliate in the say way that we are attacked. Whether it is in an argument with a family member, the boss at work, or a neighbor, retaliation never brings about the godly life that God wants us to have. What may be very hard to do on our own, but is possible with the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, we can live at peace with everyone. They may not be at peace with us, but when we are peaceable, gentle, and show consideration for everyone, we will be at peace in our hearts.



[1] David Rising, “Ex-Ss Guard on Trial in Late Push to Punish Nazi Crimes,” Seattle Times, February 10, 2016, accessed February 18, 2016, http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/ex-ss-guard-on-trial-in-late-push-to-punish-nazi-crimes/.
[2] Lous B├╝low, “Irena Sendler,” The Holocaust, Crimes, Heroes and Villains, accessed February 19, 2016, http://www.auschwitz.dk/sendler.htm.
[3] Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, The Practice of the Presence of God (Salt Lake City: Project Gutenberg, 2004), 77, Kindle.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Declare Good Theology: Part 5 – Our Hope His Appearing – Titus 2:13



Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Chris. (ESV)

I’ve been writing about Titus 2:13-15 in reverse order as I looked at all the good theology that is in these verses. Now, I’m back at the beginning. If you look at the theology revealed in these studies, you will begin to see why we have hope, a very blessed hope. Paul says that our hope is in the appearing of Jesus. As at other times, I ask the question of why and what. What exactly is our hope and why is it wrapped up in Jesus’ appearing? With a short perusal of verses about hope, it becomes evident that a book could be written on this one topic just as with other points of good theology. Hopefully this will suffice to help understand hope somewhat better.

Our Hope

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb 11:1 NIV). 

In our current English language, hope is usually expressed as a wish, a confident feeling, or a chance that something good is going to happen (Encarta Dictionary). From a Christian perspective, hope is better defined in conjunction with faith. Paul said, “Hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Rom 8:24 NASU) Christian hope eliminates wishful thinking and feelings that come and go. It is based on the sure Word of God. We have not seen or fully experience what we hope in or for, but we have God’s promise that these future events are not just good chances. They are as solid as if they had already happened even though they are in the future. When Jesus appears it will no longer be hope because it will be a reality.

No Disappointment

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5 NASU)

The result of justification through Jesus Christ is peace (Rom 5:1). Even though we have tribulations and troubles, instead of creating despair and depression, they produce godly character and hope (Rom 5:3-4). Is this hope for a better life in this world? No, it is a hope in eternal life with God. The more troubles we see in the world, the more we know that it will all be rectified when Jesus comes back. The peace that we have with God will be realized not just in our hearts but also in the world. 

Renewed World

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom 8:20-21 NKJV)

That rectification of the pain and misery in this world will be accomplished because of God’s firm promise. One aspect of hope that we are waiting to see is the new heaven and earth. Science tells us that everything is slowly decaying, some things faster than others. God tells us that there will be a day in the future that this corruption will end. The new heaven and earth will last for eternity. But this will not happen until our adoption as children of God will be completed. We will experience the incorruptible eternity when our bodies are resurrected or we are changed at Jesus’ appearing (1 Cor 15:53). 

Faith and Love

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God's people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. (Col 1:4-5 NLT)

The hope of our salvation produces in us faith and love. Again, faith and hope are intertwined for Christians. This hope is founded on God’s promise of what He has waiting for us in heaven. If we follow Jesus’ teaching to lay up treasures in heaven (Matt 6:19-20) then we will recognize that we will never be able to do that unless we have first responded to the Gospel by faith in Jesus Christ. When we accept the Gospel, we will recognize that just as we must love God, we must love one another (Matt 22:38-39) and thus, we lay up treasure in heaven where God is keeping our salvation save and secure (1 Peter 1:4-5). When Jesus appears, all this will be revealed and He will get the Glory (1 Peter 1:7).

His Appearing

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:25-27 RSV)

How is it possible that Job, a contemporary of Abraham, could have expressed such a hope in the appearance of his Redeemer as well as his own resurrection? He didn’t have any parts of the Bible for it hadn’t even been started. He may have heard the oral traditions about creation, the flood, and Babel.[1] The only possibility is that God revealed it to him. He had a better knowledge of God than his three friends (Job 42:7). 

When Job spoke these words, he was deathly ill (Job 2:7-9), ostracized by society (Job 30:1), castigated by his friends (Job 4 – 25). What a tremendous statement of faith and hope! Shouldn’t we be more like Job in this respect? We have all the promises of Scripture (2 Cor 1:20) proven by the resurrection of Jesus. When we are faced with insurmountable troubles, whether physical, emotional, or any other, we can meditate on Job’s statement of faith. The worst this world can do to me will not prevent me from seeing Jesus face to face in the flesh on this earth (Rom 8:38-39). It will be a restored, perfect earth, not like we have now (Rev 21:1). We will be standing without the frailties of mortal bodies but with immortal bodies (1 Cor 15:53-54). There will be no more pain or sorrows (Rev 21:4). Our sin nature will be forever gone; we will have no desires to sin and no more temptations (Rev 21:27). Best of all, Jesus will be there in all His glory and we will never be out of His presence (Rev 21:23). 

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 John 3:2-3 NASB)

This future hope of our resurrected bodies and eternal life in heaven it sure. However, there is much that has yet to be revealed. We can speculate that being like Him, we may be able to suddenly appear inside a locked room (John 20:19, 26) because we will be living and functioning in the heavenly realm and not just in the physical. We may be able to come and go anywhere we want in an instant (Luke 24:31). We may be able to eat and enjoy physical food (Luke 24:41). 

All of this is interesting to think about, but if we are not purifying ourselves now, then we are violating His intention for us before we receive immortal bodies. John said that everyone who has this hope purifies himself. If this hope is not driving me toward an ever-increasing life of purity, something is dreadfully wrong with my faith.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38 ESV)

In the same way that a person who is not working on becoming pure should consider why, anyone who doesn’t have the hope of Jesus’ appearing should also question why. This world is full of people who would not say they are ashamed of Jesus or His words but in practice, they are because they don’t believe. They don’t believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). They don’t believe that Jesus really claimed to be God as He did in John 10:27-30 and other verses. They don’t believe that Jesus’ death on the cross paid for their sins (Rom 5:6-10). They don’t believe what Jesus said about the need to repent (Luke 13:3). When they say that Jesus was only a good man, a wise teacher, or a prophet but deny He is God in the flesh, they are in essence ashamed of Him. None of the promises of hope will be available to them when Jesus appears. They may think they will be saved by the sincerity of their belief, in their religiosity, or their personal goodness, but as Jesus told those who were following Him only because He was healing people, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 8:11-12 NIV).

If you are hesitant about wanting Jesus to return right now, examine yourself to find out why. Is there something in your life that is more important? If so it is an idol and you need to repent. If you simply don’t believe, then you need to repent and believe in Jesus. Turn all the things people don’t believe in the previous paragraph into things you do believe, and you will be saved.


[1] Fausset's Bible Dictionary, s.v. “Job,” (Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006), Electronic Database.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Declare Good Theology: Part 4 – Good Works – Titus 2:14



zealous for good deeds. (NASU)

The Why of Good Works

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NASU)

I don’t usually think of good works as good theology. Most of the time, people are cautious to remind each other that salvation is not a result of all the great things we have done and that they can’t earn our way into heaven. Well, that is theology and it is a point that most of us get. The point we miss is why we do good works. Paul addresses this right after he tells us that we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). 

The primary reason we should be zealous for good deeds is that we are God’s workmanship. The more I look at that word, workmanship, the more I wonderful it is in this context. The Encarta Dictionary says that it is “the product or result of the skill of a worker or artisan.” Notice that for a product to be a workmanship, it must be skillfully made by a worker, or an artisan, which is the implication in Ephesians 2:10,. God is the artesian. The New Living Testament used the word, masterpiece. Think about that for a little while. We are not the random accumulation of atoms that somehow have evolved over millions of years. Each of us is a created by God, the creator of the universe. He has paid special attention to each one of us. 

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. (Ps 139:13-14 NKJV)

When my daughter was a preteen, she would often moan about having straight hair or brown eyes instead of blue eyes and whatever she thought her hair should be. I would ask her if God made mistakes. “No, Dad,” she would reply with a sigh. I would respond that she was exactly the person God wanted her to be. This is essentially the same thing God said to Moses when he complained about being slow of speech. God made it clear that Moses was made the way He wanted and not only that but He also explained that even deaf, mute, and blind people are made the way He wants. Why, it is because we are to depend on Him (Ex 4:10-12).
Getting back to the why of good works, since we are His masterpiece, then we must be used for the purpose He intended. Beautiful paintings are not made to be stored out of sight. Magnificent bridges are not made to be observed but used. We are created for good works.

In Christ Jesus

OK, here is what separates different kinds of works. Being in Jesus separates what we do to be saved from what we do after we are saved. It separates what is worthwhile after we are saved from worthless activity. The prerequisite is to be in Christ who is the foundation (1 Cor 3:10). The plain implication of Ephesians 2:10 is that even what we consider good deeds done by someone who is not a Christian are worthless, “Our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isa 64:6 NLT). They can’t save that person. If that person is not saved, then the most that could possibly happen is that the good deeds would somehow reduce his suffering in hell, though I’m not sure that was exaclty Jesus’ meaning in Matthew 10:15; 11:22, 24. 

If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Cor 3:14-15 RSV) 

Paul clarifies that even a Christian can have much religious activity and good works in their life but that work may be worthless and end up without reward at the final judgment. This requires me to think again about my attitude when I do anything. Do I treat my wife with love and respect because it honors God as well as her? Or is my reason really selfish. Am I kind and considerate to my wife because it makes life more pleasant? There is nothing wrong with this motivation from the world’s viewpoint, just ask any secular marriage counselor. However, if my goal is to glorify God first because Christ lives in me, then I want to build on the foundation of Christ not my personal interests. In fact, when I do it with His strength and power, it makes it easier to do. It means that even a person with a contentious spouse will be able to demonstrate a loving attitude. If a loving attitude is from selfish reasons, a person will grow tired of the hostility from that spouse, write to an advice columnist who will then advise the person to seek his or her own happiness and get a divorce. Matters that are even more “spiritual” can be done with the wrong motivation. Do I write this to bring honor and glory to God or to feed my own ego? I don’t always like the answers to questions like these but they are questions we all should ask to make sure we are doing our works in Christ.

Prepared Beforehand

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Gen 1:26 KJV)

From the beginning of creation, God had a plan for mankind. It was to be good stewards of His creation. At this point in our history, everything was good. Sin had not entered and there is no indication that animals killed each other but all were herbivores. It was probably even better than the restored earth of the millennium where animals live in peace with each other and people (Isa 11:7-9, 65:25). Man did not yet exist, but God had work planned for us. Did God’s work for us change after the fall? Not according to Psalm 8:6-8; Genesis 3:17-19 indicates that the job is certainly harder than it would have been without the fall. Yet, in looking at Titus 2:14 and Ephesians 2:10, I get the impression that caring for God’s world is not the most important work that He has prepared for us.

Looking back at the verses leading up to Titus 2:14 reveals relationships between people and attitudes and behavior that glorify God. While not forsaking our stewardship of creation, we must remember that mankind is God’s crowning masterpiece. We are made in His image; He has prepared us to have a relationship with Him and each other all of which glorifies Him. If we are not zealous for these things, then we are missing our calling and the works He has prepared for us.

They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." (John 6:28-29 NASB)

Ultimately, He has prepared us to believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation. If we miss that “work” then all the others are meaningless. Believe in Jesus, be zealous for the works done in Christ, and we will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21 ESV).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Declare Good Theology: Part 3 – Special People – Titus 2:14



purify for Himself His own special people… (NKJV)

Special People

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims … (1 Peter 2:9-11a NKJV)

Peter also calls us a special people. As used in both Titus and 1 Peter, the King James uses the word, particular. The Greek refers to the concept of a purchase or possession.[1] While this is the primary meaning of special in these two verses, the Encarta Dictionary (Microsoft Word) has seven definitions for the adjective special and nearly all of these apply to God’s people in one way or another, especially in 1 Peter 2:9-11. Let’s look at the world’s definition of special and see how it applies to us.

Unusual or Better (distinct, different, unusual, or superior in comparison to others of the same kind)

The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised. (Deut 26:18-19 NLT)

Doesn’t this fit with the definition of special? The promise given to Israel in the Old Testament is reaffirmed by Peter in 1 Peter 2:9-10. Just as God chose the nation of Israel to be His treasure and a nation that above others, we are elected by God not just to be nation, but to be part of the family of God (Eph 1:4-5). We are not superior in the sense that we are morally better than others for all have sinned (Rom 3:23). However, when we become Christians we certainly have a better future. Once we were dead but now we are alive (John 5:24). That sounds a lot better than those who are still dead in sin. Israel found praise, honor, and renown as long as the obeyed the Lord. When the final judgment comes, we will appear with Christ in glory (Col 3:4; 1 Peter 1:7). 

Reserved (unique to or reserved for a specific person or thing)

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. (Deut 14:2 RSV)

God chose Israel for himself. He reserved this special people out of all the earth to be his own. Paul affirms that we are now the chosen remnant for Himself just as Israel had been in the Old Testament (Rom 11:5). However, being chosen also requires that we fulfill the responsibility of a chosen people. “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col 3:12 NASB). Just as God loves us and because He has chosen us, so we should be extending the same kind of love to others. Being special does not mean that we can lord it over others but that we should serve others.

Peter said that we are “sojourners and pilgrims” (1 Peter 2:11). We are reserved not for this life but for heaven. Our home (John 14:2 ) and citizenship (Phil 3:20 ) is in heaven where our treasure (Matt 6:21) and inheritance (1 Peter 1:4) is waiting for us.

Made for Specific Purpose (made or used for a specific purpose or occasion)

that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you  out of darkness into  his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 ESV)

We are special because God has called us to do something that is impossible for non-Christians to do. While others may be able to speak wonderful things about God and Jesus, they have not been called out of darkness yet. They are not in the light so their testimony of God is deficient. They are speaking of something they have not experienced. They are speaking about a person they have not met. But we were saved out of the darkness and have now experienced the light. We have met God the Father through Jesus Christ and commune with them though the Holy Spirit. This should enable us to worship our God and Savior, Jesus in ways that they cannot do. It means that when persecution comes, we don’t fall away. It means that we have a calling to spread the Gospel making more and better disciples (Matt 28:19-20). 

Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. (2 Cor 4:1-2a NIV)

We can achieve our purpose only because we have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10). Without God’s mercy, we would lose heart because we would be trying to please God through our own strength and works. We would be like cults and other religions, some of which use secret and shameful rites. Others use deception and distort the Word of God. Because they have not received mercy and have not been called to God’s purpose, they can do nothing else. Because we have received God’s mercy, we can truthfully proclaim the God’s Word (2 Cor 4:2b). We can proclaim the light because we have the light of the Gospel in our hearts which is “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor 4:6 NIV). 

Aren’t you glad that you are one of God’s special people? If you aren’t, you can become one by turning to Jesus in faith for the forgiveness of your sins. But remember it is a faith that results in obedience; it isn’t fire insurance but surrender to the living God.


[1] Thayer's Greek Lexicon, s.v. “NT:4047,” peripoieesis, “that which is one's own, belongs to one's possessions: a people selected by God from the other nations for his own possession,” Titus 2:14

Stong’s Numbers and Concordance, s.v. “NT:4047”  peripoiesis, “obtain (-ing), peculiar, purchased, possession, saving, 2 Peter 2:9.