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3 John 2

Monday, December 18, 2017

3 John 2
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

John’s prayer for the beloved Gaius was that he would prosper in all things and be in health and that these would be in proportion to his soul’s health. It is not wrong to pray for good health and to seek to be prosperous. But what is wrong is placing little weight on the soul’s condition. While we know there are many whose physical health supersedes their souls’ health. We also know that there are others still whose spiritual health dwarfs their physical condition.

The question for each of us to ask is “What would my prosperity and health be like if such were in proportion to my soul?” What would my status in life be like? What would I feel like? Would I have heart problems because my heart is not right with God (Acts 8:21)? Would my bones rot due to envy (Prov. 14:30)? Would my appetite be morbid due to a lack of hunger for spiritual things (Matt. 5:6)? What would my hearing be like (2 Tim. 4:3, 4)? How well would my vision and memory be (2 Pet. 1:9)?

Would I want John to make this prayer for me?

--Steven J. Wallace

2 John 9

Monday, December 04, 2017

2 John 9

“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”

While the apostle John has a lot to say about love, he stresses the importance of being doctrinally correct. Real love must have its basis in the love and respect for God. To move beyond the doctrine of Christ is to move beyond the truth. One can never leave the truth and retain God any more than one can leave the teaching of the gospel as an act of love.  

  • “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 Jn. 3).
  • “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 Jn. 2:5).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn. 5:3).

--Steven J. Wallace

1 John 1:7

Monday, November 20, 2017

1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 1 Jn. 1:5-2:2 or 1:1-2:2.
EXTENDED CONTEXT: 1 Jn. 1:1-3:10

“Fellowship” is a joint participation or sharing in something. Gospel fellowship is always spiritual and never carnal. We share with one another and with God when we walk where God is—the light. There is no darkness in Him and we cannot agree with Him if we are walking in darkness—sin. A walk conveys a manner of life and while it is possible for a Christian to sin, he must with godly sorrow confess it rather than concealing it. Three times we read, “If we say.”

  • 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness we lie and do not practice the truth.”
  • 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
  • 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

God demands a consistent likeness to Him and when we fall short, He requires that we confess our faults to Him and repent. Those who sin and refuse to recognize such deceive themselves as well as charge God with being a liar. That is a dangerous position to be in.

The key to walking in the light and keeping fellowship with God is not minimizing sin, but keeping a tender heart where His word abides as an honored guest (1 Jn. 1:10; 2:5, 14). If we want the atoning benefits of the blood of Christ, we must walk in the light.

--Steven J. Wallace

2 Peter 3:18

Monday, November 06, 2017

2 Peter 3:18
“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 2 Peter 3:14-18.

Sometimes the main point to make is fully said and emphasized at the very end. In this case, it is the commission to grow! What is not growing is dying. 2 Peter 3:18 expresses the end of many important truths the apostle had taught. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, because:

  1. There is a great day coming (2 Pet. 3:10-13).
  2. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise but is longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:1-9).
  3. There will be false teachers among you who can lead you astray (2 Pet. 2:1-22).
  4. The prophetic word is confirmed (2 Pet. 1:12-21).
  5. One is fruitless without such graces of virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-11).
  6. God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Christ (2 Pet. 1:1-4).

Questions: Have I grown more this year than last or am I flat or perhaps digressing? What am I doing to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord? Am I easily distracted from attaining personal achievement in the word by things in the world? Is my measure of growth concurrent with my measure of diligence? Surely, we are never diligent in what we are disinterested.

Therefore, consider our highlighted passage in light of these segments from 2 Peter:

  • “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge” (1:5).
  • “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (1:10).
  • “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (3:14).

--Steven J. Wallace

1 Peter 3:21, 22

Monday, October 23, 2017

1 Peter 3:21, 22:

“21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.”

IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 1 Peter 3:18-22 (Noah’s salvation)
EXTENDED CONTEXT: 1 Peter 3:13-4:19 (Suffering for Christ with a good conscience)

As is the case with every book in the Bible, it is hard to select only one verse to highlight for memory work. Our last passage from James 5:20 focused on restoring the Christian who had wandered from the truth. 1 Peter 3:21 has in view the salvation of the alien sinner—one who has never obeyed the gospel and has lived alienated from God (cf. Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:21).

Those who have been Christians for some time have likely memorized 1 Peter 3:21. If that is the case for you, consider advancing it with memorizing verse 22 which speaks of the authority of Christ. Jesus has the power to command us what to do to be saved because He is the Son of God who died and rose again. All authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth and He commanded His apostles to make disciples baptizing them (Matt. 28:18-20). To reject water as the element of baptism is to reject the immediate context found in 1 Peter 3:20. Accordingly, the clarification “not the removal of the filth of the flesh” is pointless if Peter had Holy Spirit baptism in mind.

To reject water immersion as a necessary requirement for salvation today is committing the same sin as that of the Pharisees and lawyers in Luke 7:30:

“But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

Refusing water baptism is rebelling against the will and authority of Jesus Christ. With that in mind, water baptism does not save us because of some inherent power found in water, but rather through the word, the blood, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn. 8:51; 14:23; Rom. 5:9, 10; Eph. 2:13).

--Steven J. Wallace

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