“The Lord our Righteousness.”
It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that “Christ is made unto us righteousness,” we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all. On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” You will not find on this side heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus;” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought–“Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” “The love of Christ constraineth us,” “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them.” If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.
“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
There was an exercise, on the part of this blessed woman, of three powers of her being: her memory–she kept all these things; her affections–she kept them in her heart; her intellect–she pondered them; so that memory, affection, and understanding, were all exercised about the things which she had heard. Beloved, remember what you have heard of your Lord Jesus, and what he has done for you; make your heart the golden pot of manna to preserve the memorial of the heavenly bread whereon you have fed in days gone by. Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have either felt, or known, or believed, and then let your fond affections hold him fast for evermore. Love the person of your Lord! Bring forth the alabaster box of your heart, even though it be broken, and let all the precious ointment of your affection come streaming on his pierced feet. Let your intellect be exercised concerning the Lord Jesus. Meditate upon what you read: stop not at the surface; dive into the depths. Be not as the swallow which toucheth the brook with her wing, but as the fish which penetrates the lowest wave. Abide with your Lord: let him not be to you as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth for a night, but constrain him, saying, “Abide with us, for the day is far spent.” Hold him, and do not let him go. The word “ponder,” means to weigh. Make ready the balances of judgment. Oh, but where are the scales that can weigh the Lord Christ? “He taketh up the isles as a very little thing:”–who shall take him up? “He weigheth the mountains in scales”–in what scales shall we weigh him? Be it so, if your understanding cannot comprehend, let your affections apprehend; and if your spirit cannot compass the Lord Jesus in the grasp of understanding, let it embrace him in the arms of affection.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
New International Version (NIV)
Though some critics have called Jesus merely a prophet or a good man, many people were witnesses of his divine identity. In Acts 5:31 Peter declared that Jesus is “Prince and Savior” and that he is seated at God’s right hand and able to forgive the sins of the very people who had crucified him. Peter clearly believed that Jesus is God. In Matthew 16:15–16, Jesus asked Peter about this very issue: “Who do you say I am?” and Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And the disciple Thomas, coming face to face with the resurrected Jesus, confessed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Even Gentiles proclaimed Jesus’ divinity. When Jesus died, the sky grew dark and the earth shook. Seeing all this happen, the Roman centurion and soldiers who carried out the crucifixion exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
In Mark 2:1–12 (see also Matthew 9:1–8; Luke 5:17–26), Jesus not only forgave a paralyzed man’s sins but also proved his authority to forgive by curing the man of his paralysis. Jesus ministered to this man publicly, in front of many witnesses and in full view of the hostile Pharisees. Although the Pharisees rejected Jesus’ claim despite the evidence, those whose spiritual eyes were opened believed there was no room for doubt: Jesus was (and is) the Son of God.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Cross references:Ephesians 6:11 : ver 13; Ro 13:12; 1Th 5:8Ephesians 6:12 : 1Co 15:50; Heb 2:14Ephesians 6:12 : Eph 1:21; 3:10Ephesians 6:12 : Ro 8:38Ephesians 6:12 : S Eph 1:3Ephesians 6:13 : ver 11; S 2Co 6:7Ephesians 6:14 : Isa 11:5Ephesians 6:14 : Ps 132:9; Isa 59:17; 1Th 5:8
Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
New International Version (NIV)
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
It would seem so, according to this verse. But some see another possibility: that this verse looks at how people appear, rather than their true spiritual condition. They suggest the appearance of falling away (that is, turning away from the faith entirely and decisively) reveals that the person never had true faith.
Others, however, say it’s possible to believe for a while. They say the New Testament warns believers to persevere in their faith—a warning different from that given to unbelievers. They say God gives people a free will—something they still have when they commit to Christ.
The debate goes on, so it is perhaps best to emphasize what both sides agree on: In the end those who believe will be saved, and only the seed that bears fruit will reach its goal.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
Cross references:James 1:4 : S 1Co 2:6James 1:5 : 1Ki 3:9, 10; Pr 2:3-6James 1:5 : Ps 51:6; Da 1:17; 2:21; S Mt 7:7James 1:6 : S Mt 21:21; Mk 11:24
The tongue is a two-edged instrument of power. With it we can lash apart a loved one, leaving deep scars. We’ve seen our child’s confidence wilt after our tongue strikes a blow. We’ve grimaced after thoughtlessly slicing our husband apart with our words. The tongue has an unequaled power to destroy.
But it also has the power to build up and to heal. We can wield it to build a mole-sized self-image into one that is majestically confident. We can use it to offer solace for the open wounds of those around us. A variety of three-word groupings—”You look great!” “Good for you!” “I love you.” “I forgive you.”—can transform human life.
It has the power to destroy. It has the power to heal. How will you use the tool between your teeth?
New International Version (NIV)
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
New International Version (NIV)
4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.