17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.” (Genesis 3:17–18, NKJV)
Adam failed in his responsibility to lead his wife away from sin. Furthermore, he willingly participated in sin with her (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6). Not only did Adam and Eve experience the separation from God their sin produced that day, ongoing consequences resulted that continue to impact all of humanity. Man would no longer benefit from the easy, abundant access to food God’s garden provided. Now, only by daily toil and labor, to overcome reoccurring obstacles, would he feed himself and his family. There are men today who resist the divine charge to provide for their own household (1 Timothy 5:8). Yet, as leader and head of his wife, it is the husband’s God-given responsibility to lead his wife with love, laboring to sustain life for himself and his family (Ephesians 5:25-29). Husbands must step up to the plate, and meet their responsibility to lead, to work, and to provide. Doing so will strengthen your family, and fulfill God’s will.
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16, NKJV)
With these words He spoke to Eve, God not only increased her pain and sorrow in conception and childbirth, He also permanently confirmed the relation of the wife to her husband as one of desire, dependence, and deferential submissiveness. The word “desire” means “to run, to have a vehement longing for a thing” (Pulpit Commentary). Thus, God gave distinct, definable roles to women and men. The husband has the role of leader, and the wife has the role of willing follower (Ephesians 5:22-25; 1 Peter 3:1-6). The reversal of these roles led to sin: “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’…” (Genesis 3:17). The wife’s submissiveness to her husband’s leadership brings definable stability to the family, and to society. The husband is to lead his wife with love, and the wife is to defer to his leadership with devotion. Husbands must honor their wives, not oppress them (1 Peter 3:7). And, wives are to be submissive to their own husbands (1 Peter 3:1). God challenges wives to be sure your desire is for your husband, and not for another man, or for the man’s role in your marriage.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” (John 10:31–33, NKJV)
When Jesus said, “I and My Father are one,” He declared His equality or sameness with God (John 10:30). He had made such claims before (John 5:17-23). The Jewish rulers rejected the proof He gave of His deity (His miraculous works). So, they considered His statement of being one with the Father (being the Son of God), as blasphemy against God. Like so many people today, they thought Jesus was only a man. So, they charged Him with blasphemy and considered Him worthy of death (John 10:33; 19:7). Think of it; A man who claimed to be God! Yet, His miracles bore testimony of the truth (John 5:36; 10:25, 32, 38). Jesus is more than just a man, He is also God (John 1:1-3, 14). (Naturally, if His claim of deity is false, then He is certainly not a good man, but a liar and a fraud!) If they had believed His works, they would have readily received His words, instead of attempting to kill Him, because He said, “I am the Son of God” (John 10:36-38). The proof remains valid today. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” (John 10:29–30, NKJV)
Jesus claimed the same power as the Father when He claimed to give eternal life and to protect His sheep from danger (John 10:28-29). This mutual, protective power illustrated His unity with the Father. “To snatch them out his hand is the same as snatching them out of the Father’s hand” (Lenski, 759, emp. his). So, that for which Christ’s enemies pressed, they now receive (John 10:24). Jesus uttered a clear and decisive statement of His divine nature by affirming, “I and the Father are one.” His works proceeded from the Father, and testified of His unity with the Father’s nature, purposes and power (John 10:32; cf. 8:42). To claim the same power as the Father, was to claim oneness with the Father (John 10:29-30). The Jews immediately viewed such a claim as blasphemous, and prepared to stone Jesus (John 10:31). They did not misunderstand what Jesus said; They simply refused to believe Him. They knew Jesus was declaring to be deity, and they wanted to kill Him over it (John 10:33). The question is, do you believe Jesus is God? His works give ample reasons to believe He is “the Son of God” (John 10:36-38).
26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (John 10:26–28, NKJV)
The Jewish leaders’ failure to believe in Christ made it clear that they were not His sheep (John 10:26). They were not His disciples. Jesus contrasted His sheep and the unbelieving Jewish leaders in John 10:27-28. By so doing, He specifically stated the blessings of being His sheep. Christ’s sheep hear His voice, and consequently, He knows them (John 10:14). They follow the words of Christ, and consequently, He gives them eternal life (John 10:10). As a result, they shall never perish (no one shall snatch them out of the hand of Christ). Jesus taught that human salvation rests upon the pillars of man’s faith and God’s grace (John 10:27-29; Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus rejected the Calvinistic doctrines of unconditional election and the perseverance of the saints. If the conditions of verse 27 are not obeyed, the blessings of verses 28-29 will not follow. As one hears and obeys the voice of Christ (the gospel), his soul is secured by the Son and the Father. The Jewish rulers did not hear His voice, nor did they follow Him. Therefore, they were not saved. Because of their unbelief, they would die in their sins (John 8:23-24). We must hear and obey the words of Christ to have eternal security.
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.” (John 10:24–25, NKJV)
In the last year of Jesus’ life, during the Feast of Dedication (present-day Hanukkah), unbelieving individuals confronted Him and demanded of Him a plain declaration that He was the Christ (John 10:22-24). Like ravenous wolves the Jewish rulers encircled Him, ready to pounce upon their prey (v. 24). Jesus was surrounded by unbelievers. They had seen His miraculous works and their results, but still they did not believe in Him. His works and His words still provide ample proof that He is the Christ, the Son of God (John 5:36; 10:25; 20:30-31). A further demonstration of His power would be casting pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). They had made up their minds. They were looking for a reason to put Jesus to death. Why do we surround Jesus? To oppose Him and His word as false, ineffective, and irrelevant today? Or, to learn from Him, and follow the Good Shepherd to have eternal life (John 10:11)?
10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another… (1 John 3:10–11, NKJV)
There are obvious differences between the children of God, and the children of the devil. This passage expresses those differences negatively. The person who does not practice righteousness, and the one who does not love his brother, is “not of God.” This is entirely consistent with the apostle’s declaration in Acts 10:35, that “whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Practicing righteousness is equivalent to practicing truth, and walking in the light (1 John 1:6-7). Christians live their profession of faith by walking in truth, otherwise, they are “not of God,” and are without God’s approval. For you see, it is sin not to practice righteousness (1 John 3:7-8; James 4:17). As we practice righteousness, we must love our brethren, even as Jesus commanded from the beginning (1 John 13:34-35). The devil’s children do not practice righteousness or brotherly love. To them, these are unnecessary for God’s acceptance. It is a great deception to say how one lives as a Christian does not impact one’s divine approval now, and eternally. May we practice righteousness, and love our brethren. By this, we know we are of God.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Thanksgiving Day is here, reminding us to always be thankful to God. The greatest blessing of all is our victory over sin and death through the Lord Jesus Christ. Sin has been utterly defeated by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore:
1) Be thankful today for God’s grace, by which Jesus died for everyone and brought salvation to all who will believe and obey (Hebrews 2:9; Titus 2:11).
2) Be thankful today that you have received God’s gift of salvation by your obedient faith to Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 5:8-9; Romans 6:17-18).
Death has been utterly defeated by the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The empty tomb is a constant memorial to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and that he has complete power over death (Romans 1:4; Revelation 1:18). Therefore:
1) Be thankful today that death is no longer fearful – Jesus replaced the fear of death with confident hope (Hebrews 2:14-15).
2) Be thankful today that death will be your doorway into eternal joy, peace and life (Philippians 1:21).
God gives us no greater blessing than victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
(Revision of Sword Tips #12)
Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who delights greatly in His commandments. (Psalm 112:1, NKJV)
This psalm calls on us to give celebratory adulation of thanks to Jehovah. It reveals the result of such praise, while explaining who actually praises the Lord, and why. The blessing of His favor is the outcome of giving God the praise He is due. The source of acceptable praise comes from a heart that fears the Lord. This person obtains His good favor. Cries of hallelujah (“praise Jehovah” or “praise the Lord”) must combine with genuine reverence for them to be regarded by the Lord and responded to favorably by Him. Nor do we have to wonder who it is that fears the Lord, for it is spelled out here. Fearing God is tantamount to delighting completely in His commandments. We fear God by desiring, cherishing and following His commands. And so, by taking pleasure in His commands, we wholeheartedly praise His name. At this thanksgiving season (and every day), may we delight in the Lord’s commands, rejoice in His good blessings, and thankfully praise His name.
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14, NKJV)
Patient endurance in the face of trials is a virtue of faith. When faced with a situation that calls for waiting, some do so out of anger, ready to exact revenge on their oppressor (Romans 12:17-21). Some wait with distressed hearts, anxious over an outcome that is beyond their ability to see (Matthew 6:34). Others wait with boredom and complacency, disinterested in the events to come. But, the one whose heart is set on the Lord is not deterred from trusting Him. David exemplified the patient endurance of faith: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). When enemies surrounded him, he would not be afraid (Psalm 27:3). Patient endurance requires courage to trust the Lord’s deliverance, and to keep on fighting. David’s ability to patiently endure trials was anchored in his desire to seek the Lord and dwell in His presence (Psalm 27:4-5). Whatever trial you face, continue living faithfully to the Lord. Be strengthened, and be bold. He will strengthen your heart, and you will see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 27:13).