The Remnant of Israel


Today’s Reading: Jer 44:1–46:28, Rom 11:1–10, Prov 25:1–28

Today’s Theme: The Remnant of Israel

Today we have a short passage in Romans but it deals with a very important point which is the fact that God has not rejected His people Israel but has always until this day preserved a remnant. Just like in Old Testament days God has kept a remnant faithful to Himself and so keeps the spirit of the covenants, promises and prophecies yet to be fulfilled alive.

This serves well to challenge the ideas of replacement theology which say the church has replaced Israel in every way which is simply not consistent with the Bible.

Jeremiah 44:1–46:28

Don’t provoke God

Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth? (Jeremiah 44:8, ESV)

The people were unrepentant even after judgement. We need to ask ourselves today, are we provoking the Lord to anger though some sort of idolatry.

As we will read later, those who are persistent in unbelief are cut off (as individuals) but a remnant is always saved.

Don’t forget

Have you forgotten the evil of your fathers, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, your own evil, and the evil of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in thestreets of Jerusalem? They have not humbled themselves even to this day, nor have they feared, nor walked in my law and my statutes that I set before you and before your fathers. (Jeremiah 44:9–10, ESV)

We should not forget the pit and penalty of sin we have been saved from. We should live in the light of God’s mercy and grace, never forgetting what we were and our dark heritage as sons of Adam. We should live lives which are pleasing to God in joy.

The feminine perversion

Jeremiah said to all the people and all the women, “Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt. (Jeremiah 44:24, ESV)

Women seem to be prominent in the worship of the queen of heaven, identifying with the feminine.

The queen of heaven was a false god worshipped in the Ancient Near East.

In today’s world we see this demonic stronghold in two prominent places. The first is in false religion whether it is the feminine god of the occult and new age or the worship of Mary in Roman Catholicism. The second is in philosophy and politics where the feminist agenda has gained a dangerous foothold in our society and in doing so tears at the fabric of the family and the wider community.

Women are created in the image of God for a good function and purpose, not to be worshiped or to worship themselves.

Whose word stands?

And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs. (Jeremiah 44:28, ESV)

The word of faith and new age movements are stupid to say our words stand and have so much power, God’s word stands not ours. So we stand on the word of God which is eternal and sure.

No full end to Israel

Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:28, ESV)

This shows the special place Israel has before God as His covenant people. This prophecy was fulfilled as spoken because other nations of the time are no more but Israel and the Jews are preserved.

Romans 11:1–10

Not Rejected

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11:1, ESV)

God has not rejected the Jews, this flows perfectly from the last verse we read in the Old Testament, which states that God will not make a full end to His people but will discipline them.

All those who hold that the Jews have been completely rejected need to contend with this verse.

Paul identities himself as a Jew, pointing to the fact that from the start of the church there have always been an elect and remnant group of God’s people Israel who have also been believers in Jesus.

The Remnant

So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Romans 11:5, ESV)

God has saved a remnant of Jews by grace to His honour and glory as He upholds His eternal covenants.

The Elect

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, (Romans 11:7, ESV)

The doctrine of election applies to the Jews in the same way it does to the Gentiles. The majority were judicially hardened through unbelief but this is not the end of the story. God still has purposes that will come to pass which include a time when the majority of Jews will each profess faith in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah (we read more about this tomorrow).

Proverbs 25:1–28

Don’t gossip

Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, (Proverbs 25:9, ESV)

When someone tells you something don’t go and tell others, that is called gossip and it is sinful.

Empty clouds

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give. (Proverbs 25:14, ESV)

This is picked up in the New Testament in Jude so beware of false teaches who have head knowledge with no power and even those who seem to be powerful but are in fact in the flesh and so hold empty promises like useless clouds with no rain in them.

Like Pastor once said, as a sponge we should soak in God and so should those who minister so what comes out of us is living water from God which will bring life and refreshment to those who drink from our lives.

Another thing about dry clouds with no water is that they unnecessarily block the warmth and life of the sun, we should not block the Son (Jesus).

Love as a weapon

for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. (Proverbs 25:22, ESV)

Love is a great weapon to use, people do not know how to answer it, and the Lord rewards us. This is also picked up by Jesus in the New Testament.

Don’t give way

Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. (Proverbs 25:26, ESV)

Lord may the water of our life be clean and wholesome through standing without compromise before the wicked.

Live to glorify God

It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory. (Proverbs 25:27, ESV)

The only one that should actively seek His own glory is God.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 11


Jesus is Lord


Today’s Reading: Jer 42:1–43:13, Rom 9:30–10:21, Prov 24:23–34

Today’s Theme: Jesus is Lord

Today we have so many good lessons in our reading. One of the most important is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and we must confess Him as Lord and live in line with that confession to be saved.

Jeremiah 42:1–43:13

The Lord our God

that the Lord your God may show us the way we should go, and the thing that we should do.” (Jeremiah 42:3, ESV)

Notice they do not say the Lord our God but the Lord your God. This was evidence of a lack of relationship with the Lord. We should all know the Lord personally and so be able to say the Lord our God or the Lord my God.

The Lord your God

Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I will pray to the Lord your God according to your request, and whatever the Lord answers you I will tell you. I will keep nothing back from you.” (Jeremiah 42:4, ESV)

Jeremiah reminds them that the Lord is their God too. Maybe they were discouraged or distracted and so did not feel worthy to call God their God so it is good that Jeremiah reminds them who they are.

Be encouraged that God is your God today, you don’t need a witch doctor, Shaman, priest or Man of God to go to God on your behalf. Because of Jesus you can boldly approach God’s throne of grace.

The Land

If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you. (Jeremiah 42:10, ESV)

There is something peculiar about the land of Israel, God chose it specifically.

See the article in God of Covenants called “A place to dwell“.

Disobedience leads to your fears

then the sword that you fear shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine of which you are afraid shall follow close after you to Egypt, and there you shall die. (Jeremiah 42:16, ESV)

If we disobey the Lord and make our own provisions then that which we feared driving us to the ill advised decision may come upon us.

Clear instruction

The Lord has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day (Jeremiah 42:19, ESV)

The Lord makes His direction clear. Lord help us to simply listen to your clear instructions.


He shall break the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt, and the temples of the gods of Egypt he shall burn with fire.’ ” (Jeremiah 43:13, ESV)

Now we see these obelisks in our city centres, I have seen them in at least London, Washington and Paris. We should pray that the stronghold of the occult in our cities be broken.

Romans 9:30–10:21

Pursue by faith

Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, (Romans 9:32, ESV)

We should only pursue holiness as a result of our faith in God, we should not attempt to pursue God by works or we too will stumble. The lesson is that no matter who we are or what we do we all must have faith.


Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1, ESV)

This should be our primary concern for Israel. The most important need for any person or people group is eternal salvation for the soul.

This is in our reading today so let’s remember to pray for salvation for the Jewish people.

Jesus, The end of the law

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4, ESV)

Christ made a new better way as we read about in Hebrews, so the law has no hold over us to just reveal sin and then condemn us. The law’s demands have been fulfilled in Christ and now we are free to live in righteousness before God without fear.

In this new, better way we believe in the Gospel of God and receive the righteousness of Christ by faith… Hallelujah!!

Jesus is Lord

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9, ESV)

This is how we get saved, there must be belief and confession. No one can just kind of be saved, it is essential that we confess that Jesus is Lord.

Some say that Jesus is just saviour but is only Lord for a mature Christian and there is a distinction between believers and disciples but this is utter nonsense.

They (simply believe advocates) call people like us who worship Jesus as Lord “Lordship Salvationists” as though it were a derogatory term but we gladly embrace it. Yes Jesus Christ is Lord.

If we are saved then He is the Lord of our lives, we are not our own, we live in Him and for Him. Say it today, sing it today and live it today Jesus Christ is Lord.

One Lord, One People

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. (Romans 10:12, ESV)

The western church and the messianic church need to note this, we are one new man in Christ with one Lord over us all as we call upon Him.

Open to all peoples

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13, ESV)

The Gospel is open to all people, from every nation, tribe and tongue. It is open to those in every station of life to every age and gender.

Some religions like Hinduism have classes within their religion (The Caste System) but this is foreign to Christian thought, theology and practise because as Paul quotes from the Old Testament everyone can receive the benefit of the Gospel of God no matter who they are, where they are from or what they look like.

How, share it

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:14, ESV)

The how of the Gospel, this is the tool God uses to save men and the point that Paul is making is that the gospel by its very nature must be shared or it is no Gospel at all.

The word

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17, ESV)

It all begins with the word, so get it in and share it out. We are privileged as Pastor preached so powerfully in 2014 that we have the Bible translated for us so we can understand it. Now may we through our words and actions translate it for those around us.

Note that hearing is so important so the Gospel of God must be shared verbally.

God shows Himself

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” (Romans 10:20, ESV)

God is the initiator of salvation for both Gentile and Jew because we were not looking for God, He has revealed Himself to us.

Proverbs 24:23–34

Rebuke the wicked

but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. (Proverbs 24:25, ESV)

Lord help us to be bold to rebuke the wicked. May we stand as a voice for justice and righteousness.

Personal retaliation

Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” (Proverbs 24:29, ESV)

Personal retaliation is forbidden, Jesus picks this up by reminding us to turn the other check.

The lure of the sluggard

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, (Proverbs 24:33, ESV)

Lord please keep us from the lure of the sluggard, help us to take care of what you have given us and to not rest and sleep more than we should or at the wrong time.


and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:34, ESV)

Laziness leads to poverty.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 10

God who has mercy


Today’s Reading: Jer 39:1–41:18, Rom 9:13–29, Prov 24:1–22

Today’s Theme: God who has mercy

Today we look at the way God shows us great mercy when He really doesn’t have to and how we are saved by His mercy shown in love and not by obligation. Thank God today that He has made you a vessel of mercy.

Jeremiah 39:1–41:18

Taken care of by God

“Take him, look after him well, and do him no harm, but deal with him as he tells you.” (Jeremiah 39:12, ESV)

This is amazing, God’s servant has been taken care of again which reminds us that God will take care of us in His mercy and grace

More than a name

sent and took Jeremiah from the court of the guard. They entrusted him to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, that he should take him home. So he lived among the people. (Jeremiah 39:14, ESV)

Gedaliah’s name means Yahweh is great, however he does not live up to the name as we read later about his lack of faith and gullible nature. Let’s not be Christians in name only but in Spirit and Truth.

Romans 9:13–29

God is just and merciful

What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! (Romans 9:14, ESV)

People always accuse God of being unfair, but the fact is God does not have to have mercy on any and we are blessed that He chooses to show mercy to some.

God is under no obligation to save any of us or to sort out our problems. All that He does is motivated by His love, not some binding obligation, He even establishes covenants in love.

God saves, not man

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:16, ESV)

Monogesim which is the belief that conversion is totally accomplished by God is here defined.

No man can boast in his own works or common sense leading to his salvation it is all dependent on God showing personal mercy to the individual. He does not punish them in the way they deserve, instead effecting an interchange between them and Christ and giving them what they do not deserve. He makes them alive from the dead in Christ and literally gives them a new nature by the Holy Spirit.

The whole trinity is involved in the God centred conversion of us as sinners. Think about how God has shown you mercy today and praise Him.

Humble yourself

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:20, ESV)

How can we have the audacity to challenge God and say… hey what you have done is unfair… WHAT, He is God!!

One thing we absolutely must do is humble ourselves before God.

God is patient

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, (Romans 9:22, ESV)

Paul is alluding to the truth that God endures with sinners while desiring and seeking to lead them to repentance by showing them mercy and goodness.

God is patient with man because He desires that man would humble himself and seek the mercy and grace he so desperately needs.

Vessels of mercy

in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—(Romans 9:23, ESV)

Thank you Lord for making us a vessel of mercy. We were vessels of wrath but have been transformed into vessels of mercy and it was not happenstance or any goodness or sense in us because He prepared us beforehand to His own honour and glory.

One new man

even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:24, ESV)

We are one new man in Christ, This is one of Paul’s most important points in the book of Romans.

Only a remnant

And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, (Romans 9:27, ESV)

Only messianic Jews will be saved, those who believe in Jesus, because He is the only way to salvation. Being Jewish is not enough, we must be born again.

We must also remember that many times when the Old Testament speaks about the salvation of all Israel it is talking about salvation in the military sense. So we all need Jesus.

Proverbs 24:1–22

Don’t desire to be with them

Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, (Proverbs 24:1, ESV)

We must remember this when trying to be a friend and reaching out to those at work etc. Something in the heart rises and makes us want to be with them but that is not God, it is far better to be with God and embrace the world’s rejection.

If they do not resist and reject you to some degree then you should really be worried about your stand.

The homemakers

by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:4, ESV)

Lord we pray you will give mothers and wives the wisdom and knowledge they need to build the home.

God will repay

If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:12, ESV)

We can not claim ignorance before God, He knows our hearts and has given us a conscience.
What we do is so important because God will repay.

Bounce back

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. (Proverbs 24:16, ESV)

This is not about sin but about us bouncing back when wicked men scheme against us.

Be meek

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, (Proverbs 24:17, ESV)

This is the type of outlook, attitude, and temperament God intends us to have.

Fear God

My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, (Proverbs 24:21, ESV)

You can not truly be friends with those who hate God.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 9

God’s Sovereign Choice


Today’s Reading: Jer 37:1–38:28, Rom 9:1–12, Prov 23:19–35

Today’s Theme: God’s Sovereign Choice

Today’s theme looks at God’s Sovereign Choice, we begin by looking at His choice of Israel as a national people in redemption history. We then go further to look at God’s choice of all His redeemed people by Israel’s greatest son, the Messiah Jesus Christ who is Himself God above all.

Roman’s 9 – 11 serves well as a blast against the misguided trajectory of the replacement theologians.

Jeremiah 37:1–38:28

God’s provision

So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. (Jeremiah 37:21, ESV)

Even through this unjust hardship Jeremiah was still provided for in times of great want. As God’s people He will provide for us as a good Father. Even in difficult times God will not forsake His own people.

The welfare of the people

Then the officials said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (Jeremiah 38:4, ESV)

The fact is Jeremiah was seeking the welfare of the people, he just wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear.

Let’s thank God for those with the role of the prophet in our own day like our own Pastors who seek our welfare by telling us the uncomfortable truth.

A wimpy leader

King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you.” (Jeremiah 38:5, ESV)

What a wimpy weasel of a leader, pray that the leaders of our nations, industries and ministers have some backbone to stand up against evil.

Selfish fear

King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.” (Jeremiah 38:19, ESV)

The king was very fearful and the fears were all centered on himself not his people. We must not be governed by fear or be self centered.

Romans 9:1–12

Brothers in the flesh

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:3, ESV)

Paul’s brothers in the flesh are the Jewish people, not the spiritual Jews but the actual physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Paul is patterning the love of Christ for us in laying down His life and becoming a curse for us when he expresses that he yearns so deeply for the salvation of the Jewish people that he would even be cut off from Christ and so damned to that end.

The apostle is showing the depths of devotion, love and affection he has for his own people, to the extent if it would benefit (which it would not because Christ has already been made a curse for us) in their salvation he would freely lose his.

This is in a sense a poetic expression to display the depth of his feeling on the issue of the salvation of the Jewish people. Paul has just spent Chapter 8 explaining the eternal nature of our security and love in Christ and so is using the strongest image possible to paint his love in the most vivid colors over against accusations that he is against the Jewish people and loves only the Gentiles.

The Israelites

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. (Romans 9:4, ESV)

Let’s be clear, we are talking about the ethnic and genetic Israelites, the actual Jewish people. Despite the world’s anti Israeli sentiment they really are God’s sovereign choice as a nation.

What Paul outlines here shows the unique place Israel has played in redemption history.

They were the first to be adopted as God’s son’s opening the way for all nations through their greatest son Jesus, to be adopted by God in the church.

They had the glory of God revealed to them first and they recorded and honoured it and in their own way became carriers and evidence of God’s glory by their very survival and thriving despite every attempt to exterminate them. It is through them that we now have the ultimate revelation of God’s glory in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Jew.

The Covenants were given to and kept by them, and it is the Old Covenant on which the New Covenant finds it roots and footing. If we did not have the backdrop of revealed sin through the law the gospel would lose it’s context and power.

The children were the only true worshipers of God in the ancient world and have passed on the worship of the true God to all God’s people in Christ.

God made promises and prophecies to Israel and it is on those same promises that we stand, believing that Jesus is the promised Messiah and fulfilment of the law.

They were the carriers of God’s message of hope and salvation for all mankind, fulfilled in Christ.

Jesus is God

To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:5, ESV)

Jesus is God, not some demi-god or angel, or just a man.. He is God and Paul makes it clear, He is the God over all. Once again the deity of Christ is defined and defended.

Paul makes the very important point that Jesus was a Jew, not a Roman, Greek, British, American or African, He was a Jew.

Those who belong to Israel

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, (Romans 9:6, ESV)

Being a physical Israeli is not enough for salvation. This is Paul’s point to those he is writing to. He loves the Jews and recognises their unique heritage as God’s chosen people. However for them to be a part of the true commonwealth of Israel in God’s kingdom they must believe through the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus).

We must urge our Jewish friends to be a part of the true Israel (or princes with God which is what the name means) which are those who put their faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ.

Children of the promise

This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. (Romans 9:8, ESV)

This includes two distinct people, one is the faithful from the Old Testament era, the second are those who have genuinely put their faith and trust in Jesus the Messiah (Jew and Gentile).

In short the children of the promise are those who believe the promise and so receive its reward. Namely the true church (not a state church or the church conceived by replacement theologians), the one new man comprising of Jews and Gentiles who love Jesus.

God’s purpose in election

though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls — (Romans 9:11, ESV)

The account of Jacob and Esau was to demonstrate Gods purpose in election. This is the reality, God sovereignly chose the Children of Israel and today continues to choose every single person that is saved from all nations tribes and tongues.

God elects to save according to His own love, wisdom and purposes.

Proverbs 23:19–35

Don’t hang out with drunks

Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, (Proverbs 23:20, ESV)

You should not hang around with people getting drunk or stuffing themselves. They may influence you to join them in their evil or your presence may give them silent approval.

Invest in your study

Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (Proverbs 23:23, ESV)

Invest in your study by doing something simple like getting a study bible, or a good book on a good biblical subject like the Sovereignty of God, Missions or the Atonement of the Cross or something else. Actually spend something on your study of God’s word, by spending your own money it will be more precious to you.

This is also meant in a mental sense, you should prize the getting of wisdom in your heart, treat it as a treasure.

Don’t be a traitor

She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. (Proverbs 23:28, ESV)

This is so true, men can so easily be robbed of all integrity and right-standing and become traitors to their wives and children.

Don’t attempt to drown your sorrows

Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. (Proverbs 23:30, ESV)

This is not the way to solve your problems. Go to Jesus.

Abused by alcohol

In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. (Proverbs 23:32, ESV)

The abuse of alcohol has bad effects in the end… Hangovers, sickness, smelliness (from the sickness), headaches and it destroys the body.

If you abuse alcohol the alcohol will abuse you.

Don’t abuse drugs

Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. (Proverbs 23:33, ESV)

You can end up hallucinating and saying things that will embarrass you. This is true of drugs and alcohol so avoid both.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 9

God’s Everlasting Love


Today’s Reading: Jer 35:1–36:32, Rom 8:18–39, Prov 22:17–23:18

Today’s Theme: God’s Everlasting Love

There are two great themes in our reading from Romans today; one is the future glory and grace promised in the gospel of God, and the second looks at the eternal nature of God’s love for His elect, and so in turn, our assurance and security in Him.

Jeremiah 35:1–36:32

Be resolute

But they answered, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever.(Jeremiah 35:6, ESV)

These men had integrity under trial, we must be resolute like this as believers.

Faithfulness rewarded

therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me.”(Jeremiah 35:19, ESV)

This promise was because of their stand, faithfulness and resolution to obey their father in the midst of a very individualistic and rebellious culture. Again we can learn from their example.

Fear the Lord

Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments.(Jeremiah 36:24, ESV)

These men despised the word of the Lord and foolishly did not fear the coming judgement. We should honour the Lord and tremble at His word.

The indestructible book

“Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah has burned.(Jeremiah 36:28, ESV)

The enemy cannot destroy God’s word. He always tried and always fails. God has always preserved His word and we should be grateful that we now have a number of English translations (KJV, AMP, ESV, NASB, HSCB etc.), which are faithful to the originals.

Thank God for the sacrifice of those like William Tyndale, who made it his mission to translate the bible into English. Also pray that the work of modern day translators, who are producing bibles for the unreached and constantly improving our understanding of the original writings of the bible through translation.

Romans 8:18–39

Encouraged by future glory

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.(Romans 8:18, ESV)

The future Glory that will be ours in Christ is so great, that the sufferings of this life are not worthy of comparison or weighing against.

This should encourage us through every trial and suffering. There is great glory coming, so don’t give up, instead look up.

Creation’s curse

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope(Romans 8:20, ESV)

The ‘Him’ spoken of here is God. The creation was subject to the curse in the hope of glory and redemption.

Creation glorified

that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.(Romans 8:21, ESV)

Paul teaches, not the annihilation of this visible world, but its transformation.

God created the world and it was good. Salvation and redemption is not just for man but for God’s creation, which is why in the end there will be a renewed earth and heaven.

The glory of resurrection

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.(Romans 8:22, ESV)

This makes clear we are talking about the glorious reality of resurrection.

We will be transformed in our resurrection, the earth too will go through a type of resurrection.

The best bits

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?(Romans 8:24, ESV)

Part of the message of salvation is regarding the resurrection for the dead and the glory of eternal life, this is one of the best bits so we should remember to share it.

The Spirit groans

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.(Romans 8:26, ESV)

It is an error to say that this is tongues because the groanings are too deep for words, but tongues is just another word for languages, languages are words.

This is a deep groaning of the Spirit of God in our heart, compelling us to praise, prayer and even action.

It goes beyond our understanding and thoughts, we need this intercession of the Spirit to empower our prayers and it helps us pray for and say the things we would not think of saying ourselves.

The Spirit prays

And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.(Romans 8:27, ESV)

We should appeal to the Spirit of God when we pray for the saints, so that we can pray according to God’s will. Let the Holy Spirit pray through you.

Things working out

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28, ESV)

Not for everyone, just the elect who love God, all things work together for good for us because we are called to fulfil God’s purpose. This truth is tied up in the sovereignty, providence and elective love of God.

Intimate foreknowledge

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.(Romans 8:29, ESV)

This is personal foreknowledge in a loving sense, not in the sense of knowledge, although God knows all things. The meaning of this word makes the anti-reformed (anti Calvinist) view unsuitable.

God foreknew the elect in Love, which gives us the purpose of election… Love!

We have been elected by God, not by our decision but by God in His love, which we do not fully comprehend.

The Christian experience, summarised

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.(Romans 8:30, ESV)

This speaks to the entire trajectory of the Christian life, we were pre-loved, chosen, called, justified and glorified.

From election through perseverance to glory.

Eternal security

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?(Romans 8:31, ESV)

We have eternal and firm security in God.

Gods elect

Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.(Romans 8:33, ESV)

Clearly election is a teaching of God’s word, even though secular, western ideals reel at the thought.

God justifies His elect and it is before Him they ultimately stand or fall.

Jesus intercedes for us

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.(Romans 8:34, ESV)

One of the reasons for our eternal security is not only what Christ has already done, but what He is doing now, He is interceding for us at God’s right hand.

The whole Trinity is involved, The Spirit groans, the Father justifies and Jesus intercedes.

Eternal love

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.(Romans 8:37, ESV)

The important answer to the questions leading to this verse is No.

We are more than just conquerors, it is not that we have conquered sin and death, Jesus conquered sin and death. We are the recipients of the deed of His love, we are the beneficiaries, we have the guarantee of His finished work, we did not earn it so we are not conquerors, we are so much more… we, by the Spirit of adoption, have become righteousness imputed sons, with an entitlement to that which we could not possibly conquer and achieve for ourselves.

We are kept in security for all eternity by the love of God, He has overcome.

Proverbs 22:17–23:18

Incline your heart

Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge,(Proverbs 22:17, ESV)

Inclining your ear takes effort, the root words give some indication of the type of effort involved (to stretch, spread, lengthen; to bend down; to turn aside; to entice).

To apply our heart means to firmly set our heart in resolution, on the knowledge given.

Good pleasure

for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.(Proverbs 22:18, ESV)

Inclining our ears and applying our hearts brings us pleasure.

Physical discipline

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.(Proverbs 23:13, ESV)

This is not just training and teaching, this is a physical strike, administered in self control and love.

Future hope

Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.(Proverbs 23:18, ESV)

This is encouraging when you look around and see the ungodly prospering.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 8

God’s Adopted Sons


Today’s Reading: Jer 33:1–34:22, Rom 8:1–17,  Prov 22:1–16

Today’s Theme: God’s Adopted Sons

Today we read about the unimaginable grace of God given to us in the gospel of God, where God gives us His own Holy Spirit and adopts us as His own sons, even giving us an inheritance with Christ.

God has made us His children and has set us free from sin, death and the dictates of the flesh, so that we can live in the Spirit. The obedience of Christ has been accepted on our behalf, fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law.

These truths should fill us with assurance, hope, joy and praise today, as God’s adopted children!

Jeremiah 33:1–34:22

God will heal His people

Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.(Jeremiah 33:6, ESV)

Israel are God’s people so they are not cast off forever, but instead have undergone discipline. God desires to heal and restore His people.

Jerusalem will dwell securely

In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’(Jeremiah 33:16, ESV)

Jesus will accomplish this at the second coming, until then there will be unrest and trouble in and around Jerusalem, as there has always been for thousands of years.

The multiplied offspring

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”(Jeremiah 33:22, ESV)

This points to not only the physical Jews but the one new man, the church who have become priest to God through David’s greatest son, Jesus Christ.

God’s firm covenant

Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”(Jeremiah 33:25–26, ESV)

God takes His covenant as serious as the natural order He has established. He has said that He will restore the fortunes of Judah and we pray that this will come to pass, that they recognise Jesus as the promised Messiah this passage speaks about.

God desires a just society

But afterward they turned around and took back the male and female slaves they had set free, and brought them into subjection as slaves.(Jeremiah 34:11, ESV)

This was not obedience from the heart. The decree from the king was right, God wanted a just society but this ideal had been abandoned. social justice is important to the Lord.

Romans 8:1–17

Set free

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:2, ESV)

Those of us in Christ can no longer be condemned because we have been set free by God’s Spirit, from the tyrany of slavery and bondage to sin.

The law of the Spirit of life is directly opposed to the law of sin and death, they are not however on equal footings, for life swallows up death.

The reign of death brought about by the decay of sin is over for us, and the decree of death for sin has been met in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, so in every way we are free to live in the Spirit before God, as His adopted sons (the term ‘sons’ is not gender based, the bible means God’s children but the term ‘son’ does carry special significance in regards to inheritance, as we will see later).

Shout praise to God today, for you ARE free!

The interchange

in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.(Romans 8:4, ESV)

Jesus fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law in His perfect life. There is a great interchange when we put our faith in Christ, where His life is exchanged for ours and ours for His. This is why He suffered for our sins on the cross, while His righteous life is imputed to us.

So it is as if we have lived the perfect life of Christ, thus fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law. We can no longer be condemned because Jesus was condemned in our place and His obedience has been accepted for us.

The term ‘walk’ is used to remind us that in line with this great interchange, we have been empowered by God’s Spirit and grace, to walk in renewed obedience to God’s commands and ways.

The mind, set by our lives

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.(Romans 8:5, ESV)

Despite the way we tend to think of the flesh as a spiritual inner person given to sin, it is in fact much more than this. When Paul talks about the flesh, he means more than just the body or its passions.

The flesh is very much connected to the ways of the world in its stance of rebellion against God and its domination by the power of sin.

So to walk in the flesh is to live life according to the dictates of this world, while being driven and determined by the power and desire of sin. Walking according to the world’s dictates will naturally draw the mind to dwell on those same things.

We are called to live according to an entirely new order set out, empowered and directed by God, through His Holy Spirit. We are called to constantly live in the Spirit.

A good test for ourselves is to ask what is our mind set on? Is it set on the things of the new life in the Spirit? If not, we must allow the power of God to have its full effect in us, by continually living according to the Spirit so our minds, desires and lives will be transformed.

The hostile mind

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.(Romans 8:7, ESV)

Those governed by the flesh are hostile enemies of God because the flesh as a system and mind set, is in constant rebellion against God, so bent by the power of sin that it cannot submit to God and is utterly lost.

This is why we need God to miraculously make us alive and actually save us, because left in the grip of the flesh we could never be saved.

We see the hostility of men’s minds against God in many forms all around us today, through the blasphemy in the sciences, media and arts, not to mention the personal rebellion of every man’s mind in the flesh.

We belong to God

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.(Romans 8:9, ESV)

All believers have the Holy Spirit, we do not belong to God without it. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our ultimate salvation, He is the seal of the full promise and the Spirit which regenerates, adopts and transforms us.

The freedom from sin and the flesh is only possible through the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit.

Rejoice that you have assurance through the indwelling Holy Spirit, that you belong to God today!

Life for the body

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.(Romans 8:11, ESV)

Notice Paul now talks about the mortal body as opposed to the wider context of the “flesh”.

God makes our bodies alive with energy to live above sin and to walk in health and strength, to serve Him.

We can stand on this truth when we feel fatigued, tired or ill, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead will take the same power and quicken or make alive our physical bodies… Hallelujah!

God’s sons

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.(Romans 8:14, ESV)

A sign of true conversion is that we are led by God’s Holy Spirit and not driven by the flesh. Our change in direction and desire is evidence that something has really happened.

Adopted by The Father

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”(Romans 8:15, ESV)

God has adopted us and made us sons in His own house, we are not in the fearful slavery that sin once had us in.

We are free children in God’s house as part of God’s family. This is the great call of the gospel of God, that He seeks to adopt the filthy, poor, orphan children we are in sin, and make us royalty in His own house alongside His own son Jesus.

The witness

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,(Romans 8:16, ESV)

The wonderful inner witness of the Holy Spirit gives us assurance in our salvation and adoption as God’s own children.

Heirs with Christ

and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.(Romans 8:17, ESV)

This is an unimaginable truth, God has not just fostered us, He has gone through full adoption, making us His own children and so we get to share in the inheritance which rightly only belongs to Christ.

This is the richness of God’s grace, this is why the gospel of God is such amazing news.

With all this amazing grace, riches, acceptance, adoption, love and inheritance, Paul brings balance to help us stay grounded in reality, reminding us that this is all ours but we must be ready to suffer for Christ’s sake.

Proverbs 22:1–16

Rewards for humility

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honour and life.(Proverbs 22:4, ESV)

This is wonderful, for walking in humility and fearing God, we are rewarded.

Train and guide

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

Children need training and guidance.

The King’s friend

He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.(Proverbs 22:11, ESV)

Thank you Lord that you are the King, help us to walk in such a way that we have You as our friend.

The rod

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.(Proverbs 22:15, ESV)

The rod is literal here but there is also a figurative meaning which points towards the earlier point of training a child up.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 8

God vs Flesh


Today’s Reading: Jer 32:1–44, Rom 7:7–25, Prov 21:13–31

Today’s Theme: God vs Flesh

Today we look at the nature and power of sin made clear by God’s good law, which works through our flesh vs God and His power.

As believers we are in a very real conflict with the power of sin at work through the flesh. We are thankful that nothing is too difficult for the Lord and that He has provided us His enabling grace in our battle against sin.

Jeremiah 32:1–44

Nothing is too difficult for God

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.(Jeremiah 32:17, ESV)

This is a great statement of faith when said sincerely because it is true that nothing is too difficult for God.

God, mighty in thoughts and acts

great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.(Jeremiah 32:19, ESV)

God is not a mindless force, He has a great mind with great plans and purposes and He doesn’t just will them, but actively gets involved in bringing His will to pass, so His acts are mighty too.

The God of all flesh

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?(Jeremiah 32:27, ESV)

Major correction to the dualism that has snuck into our theology, the devil is not the god of the flesh and the Lord the God of the spirit. God is the God of all flesh because He created mankind, including our physical bodies.

God reaffirms Jeremiah’s earlier statement by asking the question: ‘is anything too hard for Me?’, the answer is no.

God, the persistent teacher

They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction.(Jeremiah 32:33, ESV)

God teaches us persistently, He is patient and works hard to redeem and nurture His people.

God and His people

And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.(Jeremiah 32:38, ESV)

The relationship is transformed from a national one to a relational one, which includes all those who are God’s elect, past, present and future.

The fear of God in Our hearts

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.(Jeremiah 32:40, ESV)

This is fulfilled in Christ and concerning Israel as a particular people, this is yet future.

No man can turn to God on his own merit, God needs to put the right fear of Him in our hearts, as the Holy Spirt and the truth of the gospel bring us to the place of repentance.

The Restoration

Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”(Jeremiah 32:44, ESV)

This is already happening again today as it happened after the captivity, with the forming and thriving of the modern state of Israel.

Romans 7:7–25

Making sin clear

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”(Romans 7:7, ESV)

A quick sample of what the law does for us, it makes sin clear.

Sin comes alive

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.(Romans 7:9, ESV)

This is in infancy when there is no knowledge of the law in any concrete sense. This is where we get the idea that babies and toddlers are below the age (to do with mental faculty rather than chronological age) of accountability.

So there comes an age where a child understands God’s and their parents commands and it is at that point that sin comes alive… Jolted awake by the law.

The great contrast

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.(Romans 7:13, ESV)

When sin is highlighted by the law, it more grossly manifests itself in our members and conscience, it is at this point that we realise we need divine help.

So the law remains good and it is by the contrast of its perfection and goodness that sin becomes so clearly apparent in the evil and darkness of our flesh.

Slaves to sin

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. (Romans 7:14, ESV)

This follows the same idea as earlier; we are slaves to the one we obey so we are sold by our obedience to the dictates of the flesh (or disobedience to the desires of God), as slaves to sin.

We need enabling grace

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (Romans 7:18, ESV)

The ability to carry out what is right can only come from God.

God’s grace is not just unmerited favour, it is God’s enabling power to live right and resist sin. We really must think of grace in those terms, to help us in our fight and walk of faith.

As Pastor Dennis has always said: “it is the elevator to lift us up to meet the demands of God’s truth”.

The virus

Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:20, ESV)

Sin dwells in us like a virus. Paul separates his core self by using the word “I” from sin, this makes sin a power of its own.

This helps us to understand the nature of sin, it is a virus and parasite that seeks to drain the life of its host and eventually occupy every part of the host, killing the person and leaving only driving desires.

Jesus came as and with the cure to the virus which we let in at Eden and has been passed on to all mankind.

The power of sin is that it is inside us and is attached to the will or desire of man, corrupting and corroding the image of God in man, by distorting every good and perfect gift that God so lovingly provides.

The believers battle

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, (Romans 7:22, ESV)

This is speaking of the believers’ conflict with the flesh, so corrupted by sin versus our delight in God and His law.

If you are not in this battle then serious questions need to be asked… Are you even in the fight?

Serve God with the mind

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.(Romans 7:25, ESV)

We must fill our minds with the truth of God, through His word. We serve God according to His word.

Proverbs 21:13–31

Help the poor

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.(Proverbs 21:13, ESV)

This is a really serious proverb, we must listen to and minister to the poor, it is where the famous poem about helping in time of need and being remembered in our time of need is drawn from.

Fleeting pleasures

Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich. (Proverbs 21:17, ESV)

This is true, whoever loves to indulge in the fleeting pleasures of this world will end up wasting their money and will not be rich, there are far greater pleasures to be had in God.

Pursue kindness

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honour. (Proverbs 21:21, ESV)

We need to pursue, pressing hard after and making an effort towards righteousness and kindness.

Be generous

All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. (Proverbs 21:26, ESV)

We should give generously!

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 7

Slaves to God


Today’s Reading: Jer 31:1–40, Rom 6:15–7:6, Prov 21:1–12

Today’s Theme: Slaves to God

Libertarian freedom is a stubbornly persistent illusion, the reality of our existence is that none of us are Lord and Master over ourselves. We need to choose a master and serve him, there literally can be no sitting on the fence. Paul paints this in vivid terms stating that man is either a slave to sin outside Christ or a slave to righteousness in Christ.

We are freed from the law of sin and death and are therefore free only to be bound again eternally to God, in a type of matrimony or marriage.

So Yes we are slaves to God. We should not try to sanitise this reality by calling ourselves servants only, because the connotation with servant is of one paid for their services, not one who is owned (He is Lord [owner] and brought us with a price) and in a dependant and devoted relationship to their master like us.

Jeremiah 31:1–40

Everlasting Love

the Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3, ESV)

God’s love for His people is an everlasting love. This is why God keeps covenant and is faithful to us, not because we deserve it or the law demands it, but because of His love.

In His love He has saved us and will save Israel.

The chief and elect nation

For thus says the Lord: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ (Jeremiah 31:7, ESV)

Israel is the chief, most elect among the nations. Our egalitarian (everyone is equal) driven culture reels at such a sentiment but that means nothing, it is still true.

The Lord has always saved a remnant of Israel. This is true both physically and spiritually. There have always been a Jewish people and community since the days of Abraham and more importantly in the OT, there was always a remnant of spiritually faithful Jews and in the NT, all the first Christians were Jews, the first missionaries were all Jews and the early church was full of Jews, even today we have Messianic (Christian) Jews who accept Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah.

So Yes we rejoice, God in His love and faithfulness always keeps a remnant.

The Shepherd of Israel

“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’ (Jeremiah 31:10, ESV)

God is the Shepherd and Father to Israel. This carries over to the church too, as God’s chosen people, because He is our Great Shepherd and Father also.

The slaughter of the innocents

Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15, ESV)

This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was born, it was the slaughter of the innocents by Herod which we remember at this season of Christmas.

A secure future

There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country. (Jeremiah 31:17, ESV)

Israel has a future in God and so does the body of Christ. In God we can have assurance as we trust His promises, ways and person.

God’s heart yearns

Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:20, ESV)

When God is in relationship with a people as with Ephraim, it is not just technical, God’s heart yearns for reconciliation. God’s heart yearns to be reconciled to you today. Don’t allow your relationship with Him to grow cold.

Personal responsibility

But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:30, ESV)

We are each responsible for our own sin. Our current culture is so enamoured with self and the central place of man as a good and free being, that personal responsibility has been largely discarded. We instead say there is always a reason for someone’s evil, crime or sin and that they just need to be understood.

This is wrong, we should not withdraw from man his God given responsibility for his own conduct, we should not diminish the responsibility of man unless his responsibility through mental impairment is actually diminished.

By taking the responsibility from man for his own sin, we have given mankind a licence to sin in the name of being a victim of environment, culture, history or parents.

God is clear, everyone will die for their own sin, not for someone else’s.

This is picked up in the NT today, the wages sin pays is death. This is why the gospel message and solution is so radical, Jesus vicariously died in our place for our sin.

The New Testament prophesied

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, (Jeremiah 31:31, ESV)

The new testament was not an invention of Paul and his friends, it was foretold by God. God said the old covenant would be superseded by a new and better covenant. The new and better covenant is the one made though the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, as proclaimed in the gospel of God.

Regeneration of the Holy Spirit

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33, ESV)

This speaks of regeneration by the Holy Spirit and is fulfilled in the New Testament church where God’s people have changed natures, and as both Jews and Gentiles, form God’s own people.

A day will come when this will be more fully realised for the actual nation of Israel too.

The indwelling Holy Spirit

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34, ESV)

This is a further indication that we are talking about the NT experience of being born again by the Spirit of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The remembrance of sin no more, speaks of the redemption and forgiveness through the cross of Christ.

Guaranteed against the cosmos

“If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the Lord, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.” (Jeremiah 31:36, ESV)

Israel’s nationhood is guaranteed against the cosmos. The nation will never be exterminated, despite the threats and evil work of Nazi’s and Islamist’s.

Romans 6:15–7:6

Choose your master

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16, ESV)

We are Slaves regardless, we only get to choose our master. So will you serve sin under the power of the enemy, or righteousness under the power of Christ?

We are not free to do whatever we want, we are instead influenced, driven and moved by the master we are aligned with. This is why we so often find ourselves doing things we had no real intention of doing, either in the bondage of sin or the compulsion by the Spirit, in righteousness, to forgo a natural and sinful reaction for example.

Obey the teaching of the Gospel

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (Romans 6:17, ESV)

It is crucial that our obedience is sincere and from the heart.

Without the teaching of the gospel what would we be called to obey? The great commission is to teach the nations the way of Christ.

This is why the bible is so important alongside the ministry of our Pastors and teachers, to proclaim and teach the truth with all authority.

If we just tell people that Jesus loves them and don’t disciple them, how will they know what to obey? Teaching the gospel is essential to the gospel of God.

Our faith is not only composed of a spiritual or mystical element, it very much has a cognitive or thinking element, where the minds of its adherents must be engaged and activated to agree with the teaching of the Gospel of God.

This obedience in faith, to the teaching of the gospel of God, is one of the main themes of the letter.

Make righteousness your master

I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:19, ESV)

We should make righteousness our master, this will lead to our sanctification. Paul is quite clear that we need to make a conscious decision to use our bodies righteously, which is part of our call to sanctification and holiness.

God’s free gift

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, ESV)

This verse is a great summary of the gospel.

Sin will pay wages but the antithesis to this is not anti-sin paying the wages of life, because Paul has already made the case that our righteousness will never do. The gospel breaks the mould of everything being based on good or bad works and the resulting wages, instead we are presented with a totally free gift.

A works based gospel would be the work of righteousness measured against the work of sin, but the Gospel of God is God’s free and unearned gift of eternal life, over and against the earned wages of death in sin. They are not parallel, the free gift of eternal life far supersedes the wages of death for sin.

Union with Christ

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. (Romans 7:4, ESV)

Our union with Christ precludes that we are actually dead to sin and its law. This is not a fleeting thing but a sure, solid and permanent state.

There is an important point about us bearing fruit unto God, through our union with Christ, as opposed to the fruit of death.

Jesus Himself said He is the vine and we are just branches. If we are in union with Him, then we are connected to life itself, He is the very source of life and of the renewed life in particular, so it follows that being connected to Him, we will bear fruit.

We are dead to, so free from sin (or sin is dead and we are free), so that we can belong to another. Consider the word ‘belong’, it speaks of ownership and deep devotion, which is where the biblical concept of being God’s Joyful Slaves is formed.

Proverbs 21:1–12

Diligent planning

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5, ESV)

Lord, we know there are areas here where we really need to improve, please help us to be diligent and disciplined.

Quarrelling is not good

It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 21:9, ESV)

Living with someone who likes to quarrel can be a real drain on energy and difficult to bear, so pray for grace if this is your situation, or give thanks if it is not.

Also ask yourself an honest question…are you quarrelsome? If you are make an effort by the Spirit to seek peace.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 7

Alive to God


Today’s Reading: Jer 29:1–30:24, Rom 6:1–14, Prov 20:13–30

Today’s Theme: Alive to God

Today we learn that we are dead to sin and alive to God through our union with Christ. We should live with this truth in mind, we live under grace and sin’s dominion has been broken… Hallelujah!

Jeremiah 29:1–30:24

Pray for the city

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.(Jeremiah 29:7, ESV)

So pray for the city you live in, when the city does well, we will do well too. Like the exiled Jews, let’s live our lives on mission.

God’s Pre-Ordained Plan

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.(Jeremiah 29:11, ESV)

God saying He knows the pre-ordained plans that He has for Israel, rather than the lies of the false prophets.

We have adopted this in the church today, to say God knows the plan He has for us and it is true, when we look at Ephesian’s, Philippians, Colossians and Romans, we see the teaching that God has predestined our lives in Christ.

However the original application was really like an encouragement from God to the people of Judah, letting them know that although they will go through 70 years of slavery, God has a plan and purpose in these times of discipline and difficulty.

Lust and lies

because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the Lord.’ ”(Jeremiah 29:23, ESV)

False prophets always seem to have lust and sexual sin driving them. Pray that God would expose the evil intentions of false prophets today.

God’s mind accomplished

The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this.(Jeremiah 30:24, ESV)

This prophecy can be seen through both a short (at the time in Judah and Babylon) and long lens (The end times). God will accomplish what He has set His mind to.

Romans 6:1–14

Dead to sin

By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?(Romans 6:2, ESV)

We no longer habitually live in sin. We are dead to sin and our desires and nature has been changed in Christ.

Free from sin

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.(Romans 6:6–7, ESV)

Sin enslaves all, except those whose old self was crucified with Jesus. We are free from sin, we don’t have to be under sin’s bondage and bullying control.

Let us rejoice in the freedom we have from sin, this is the joyous cry of the gospel of God, that freedom from the bondage and reign of sin has come.

Alive to God

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.(Romans 6:11, ESV)

This is an argument for us to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God, in light of the cross.

What does it mean to be dead to sin? As a dead man has no hunger or desire so should we have no appetite, hunger or desire for sin.

What does it mean to be alive to God? This speaks of our relationship to God, which is only possible through our union with Christ. We no longer live unto ourselves but presently and constantly live before and for God.

Our desires have been awakened to God and we live in that light. We are in union with Christ; through His death we see our sin as dead, through His life we live in righteousness and through His resurrection we are alive, truly, finally, really alive.

Present your body

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.(Romans 6:13, ESV)

We can either present our bodies to sinful opportunity or to God.

Our bodies are tools and should be used in God’s service.

We are not just spiritual creatures, God created our flesh and so desires that we can serve Him even with our bodies.

Sin’s dominion is broken

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.(Romans 6:14, ESV)

We live by grace so sin has no dominion over us, the power of the law which makes sin alive is superseded by grace. This is the glorious gospel of God.

Proverbs 20:13–30

Seize the day

Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.(Proverbs 20:13, ESV)

Sleep is over rated, rise up early and seize the day.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 6

Peace with God


Today’s Reading: Jer 27:1–28:17, Rom 5:1–21, Prov 20:1–12

Today’s Theme: Peace with God

Today we read about the peace we have with God through the justification we receive by faith, the grace in which we stand and the gift of righteousness we joyfully receive.

This is one of the key promises of the gospel proclamation; the war is over, the King has won and established His kingdom, so end the futile hostility and enter into His peace with us, His former enemies through His abundant grace.

Jeremiah 27:1–28:17

The Sovereign

“It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me.(Jeremiah 27:5, ESV)

God is declaring His total sovereign rule over all creation.

Restoration, in God’s time

They shall be carried to Babylon and remain there until the day when I visit them, declares the Lord. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.”(Jeremiah 27:22, ESV)

Restoration of the children of Israel happened on God’s clock when they were taken to Babylon, and this is still true today, for the restoration of the modern state of Israel and the future kingdom.

The right attitude

and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles.(Jeremiah 28:6, ESV)

Jeremiah was wise and he had the right attitude of heart to the Lord’s decree. What is your attitude towards God’s word?

The biblical pattern

The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms.(Jeremiah 28:8, ESV)

Be careful of new prophecies that break the biblical pattern. Every word or prophecy must be measured against the bible.

The danger of false prophesying

In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hananiah died.(Jeremiah 28:17, ESV)

A false prophet is a very dangerous person to others and to themselves.

Romans 5:1–21

Peace with God

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.(Romans 5:1, ESV)

The point here is that those who have been justified by faith into grace, have peace with God.

This is the great gospel of God, that peace between God and man has come through Christ. The war can be over, the relationship reconciled and the offence of sin atoned for.

This is one of the things we celebrate at this time of year, that Jesus came to bring peace on earth.

The gospel of God is the declaration of God’s victory over evil, His conquering of our sin and routing of the enemy. The war is won and peace has come with the King ruling in His kingdom.

This is such great and good news!

Access grace by faith

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.(Romans 5:2, ESV)

We have right now obtained access to the grace of God by our faith in Jesus. Hallelujah!

We now stand in the grace of God and we are able to do this through faith in the promise of the gospel of God.

This is all done with a rejoicing heart, as we await the manifestation of the glory of God in us and throughout the earth.

Rejoice in Suffering

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,(Romans 5:3, ESV)

We are supposed to suffer sometimes and we should rejoice in it, knowing that it is building character and endurance in us.

Desiring God have a good free book on suffering and the sovereignty of God available

Build character

and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,(Romans 5:4, ESV)

You cannot get character overnight, it can only come through a period of time because endurance can only be tested over time.

God’s love

and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.(Romans 5:5, ESV)

This is an amazing truth, God’s love has been poured into our hearts, we have God’s love in our hearts. Another great comfort is that we all receive the Holy Spirit at conversion.

Jesus died for the ungodly

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.(Romans 5:6, ESV)

Thank you Jesus, I was so ungodly, and You died for me. We should all thank God for His love for us, that at God’s appointed time, Jesus died for us.

God’s love, demonstrated

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:8, ESV)

The substitutionary death of Christ was a demonstration of God’s love.

Now justified

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.(Romans 5:9, ESV)

Jesus’ blood justified us 2000 years ago and Jesus shall save us in the future from the wrath of God.

Saved by Jesus’ life

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.(Romans 5:10, ESV)

We are saved by the life of Christ, by the resurrection and the fact that He is alive. We also have His perfect life, lived in victory over sin, imputed to us as if His life were our life and ours were His.

Rejoice in God

More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.(Romans 5:11, ESV)

We are glorifying God by enjoying Him forever, because through Jesus, our relationship has been reconciled and we are at peace.

Sin is universal

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—(Romans 5:12, ESV)

The universality of Sin is again stated, reminding us that we all have the same problem which Jesus came to solve.

God’s gift

For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.(Romans 5:17, ESV)

We must receive God’s free gift and abundant grace. God’s free gift is actually the righteousness He credits to our account. This is all made possible through Jesus, the last Adam who secured this for all those who believe, setting us free from the curse of the first Adam.

The universal gospel

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.(Romans 5:18, ESV)

Justification and life are available to all, not just one race or type of people, but all humanity. It is important that Paul compares Jesus to Adam and shows us that Jesus is the remedy to the curse of Adam, which means He is the solution for the whole world.

Many made righteous

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.(Romans 5:19, ESV)

The mission of Jesus was no failure, many have been made righteous as they have activated their faith and accessed the grace that God so abundantly provides in Christ.

This does away with the idea of universalism which teaches that all are saved by Jesus’ work on the cross. Only the many who believe are saved. We can rejoice that it is not just a few but many, a multitude so big that they cannot be numbered, as in the vision of heaven in Revelation.

The reign of grace

so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.(Romans 5:21, ESV)

It seems grace and death are both reigning at the moment, one day the reign of death will be over for good and grace alone will reign. Today the grace of God can rule in our lives through the righteousness of God which is fulfilled, satisfied and imputed through Christ.

Proverbs 20:1–12

Don’t be mocked

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.(Proverbs 20:1, ESV)

For me, this verse is reason enough to stay away from drink.

Plough at the right time

The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.(Proverbs 20:4, ESV)

Lord, please help us to plough at the right time, to get the necessary reward. In this case, the ploughing can be seen as preparation, planning and hard work.

Be faithful

Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?(Proverbs 20:6, ESV)

Lord, help us to be faithful.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 5

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