Andrew Murray wrote that
Covenant was above all to give man
a hold upon God as the Covenant-keeping God, to link him to God Himself in
expectation and hope, to bring him to make God Himself Alone the portion and
the strength of His soul. (The
Have you been persecuted, maligned,
slandered, or otherwise unjustly treated? Are you bitter and/or unforgiving
as a result of such unjust treatment? Then the truth about Jesus as our
Covenant Partner and Protector may be just the truth you need to hear.
Jesus declared that "you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
free...(and) if therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free
indeed." (Jn 8:32, 36). The truth about your New Covenant position and
partner can indeed set you free. Years ago I taught this truth to one of the
young men I was discipling and it supernaturally liberated him from
longstanding unforgiveness and bitterness and he is today actively involved
in a disciple making ministry. So if you struggle with sin in this area,
dare to ask your Covenant Keeping God to enlighten the eyes of your heart
(cp Eph 1:18-note)
to understand the truth concerning His role as your Covenant Defender so
that this truth might set you free to be free indeed!
GLOBAL REMNANTS OF
TRUTH ABOUT COVENANT
Even as virtually all cultures possess
remnants of truth about the global flood, so too various aspects of truth
about covenant permeate virtually all cultures (see
examples below). Here is an
interesting example that I read in the Global Prayer Digest (Sept 23,
FROM GLOBAL PRAYER DIGEST SEPT 23, 1994:
"Force the impious foreigners of our midst!" Screaming & cursing, the unruly
mob of wild Tibetens, stormed the home of William Christie, missionary of
the Christian and Missionary Alliance on the Kansu-Tibetan border. Walking
to the gate of the Pao Ngan mission station, Christie faced the crowd. He
learned that they represented twelve Tibetan clans in the area, whose crops
and grazing land had recently been ruined by drought. Their lamas (priests)
hated the missionaries and, as a way to drive them out, blamed them for the
devastating lack of rain. As superintendent of the mission, Christie had to
face the situation head-on. A gifted linguist, he was an expert in both
Chinese and Tibetan and tried to reason with the mob. At the same time he
ordered his servant, in Chinese, to run to the Chinese fort for help.
Without turning his attention from the Tibetans, he spoke in English to the
missionaries, urging them to pray and prepare to defend themselves. Suddenly
he recognized in the crowd a Tibetan man who had once invited him into his
home when he was traveling. Christie remembered the Tibetan Law that said
that by accepting his hospitality, William could count on that man to be his
friend for life. Thereafter he must assist him in time of need.
Christie identified himself to his friend (Recall that in the Bible "friend"
is a covenant term) and claimed his help, thus averting a crisis which might
have claimed the lives of all the missionaries on that station. No wonder he
became known and respected as "The Apostle to Tibet."
Remember however that as you study the
concept of covenant, be careful to stand firm on the Word of God and not the
interesting extra‑biblical examples.
Recall that covenant is the most solemn,
binding, intimate, inviolable contract known in the Bible and in the world
in general ("covenant remnants").
In the previous
study, the symbolism of the
The Exchange of Robes
associated with the cutting of covenant by Jonathan with David (1Sa
18:1, 2, 3,4) was discussed with particular emphasis on the practical
parallel truths that occur when one enters the New Covenant cut by
Christ. This present study focuses on the
symbolism of the exchange of the armor, weapons and belt and the
associated New Covenant applications.
This series on
covenant should give you a deeper
understanding of the Word of God as you begin to view the Old and the
New "Testaments" (another word for covenant)
through the "lens" of the truth about covenant. And as you progress
through these studies on covenant (see list above), you will begin to
notice the concept of covenant in passages that don't have the actual
word "covenant". For example, the essence of the New Covenant is
succinctly summarized in Paul's familiar phrase "in
How so? Most of the Pauline uses of "in
Christ" can be
paraphrased as "in union with Christ". Webster's defines union
as "an act or instance of uniting or joining two (or more) things into
one as in the marriage union" (which in fact is a covenant in which two
become one flesh - Ge 2:24, see
Covenant of Marriage). Thus "in
simply another way of describing the believer becoming one with Christ
when he or she enters the New Covenant by grace through faith. Similar
reasoning could be used for the phrase "with Christ" (Ro 6:8-note)
although one needs to check the context, but a number of the uses of
"with Christ" describe the new life in Christ for all who have entered
the New Covenant in His blood.
Another example of
the "covenant motif" is found in the familiar verse Galatians 2:20...
I have been crucified with Christ
When Paul entered the New Covenant cut by Christ on the Cross - when He
was crucified, Paul [and all believers] was crucified with Him as
described in Ro 6:6-note);
and it is no longer I who live (Paul relinquished his "right" to
independent living), but Christ lives in me (my Covenant Partner, my
source of strength to live this supernatural life - cp Col 1:27-note,
"our life"); and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith
in the Son of God, Who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me ("for
me" = as my Substitute - He died for me as the sinless Lamb in order to
cut the New Covenant in His blood). (Gal 2:20-note)
Comment: Notice that in this
passage the phrase "crucified with" is the compound verb
sustauroo (word study)
composed of "with" which is the Greek preposition
speaks of a more intimate connection than the other Greek word for "with"
[meta]) and the main verb stauroo meaning to crucify. Paul also
which speaks of a past completed action (the moment I received Christ as
Lord and Savior and entered into the New Covenant by grace through
faith) with a present ongoing effect. As F F Bruce says "The
emphasizes that participation in the crucified Christ has become the
believer's settled way of life." The believer's past participation "with
Christ" in His crucifixion (When Christ was crucified I was
crucified - see Ro 6:6-note
which also uses
is the basis for his present life of faith "in Christ".
EXCHANGE OF ROBES
Recall that in the previous study
(Covenant The Exchange of Robes)
Jonathan cut a covenant with David...
Then Jonathan made a covenant with David
because he loved him as himself. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe
that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword
and his bow and his belt. (1Sa 18:3,4)
As a result of this covenant, Jonathan,
the next in line to be king of Israel, gave David his royal robe in an act
which many interpret as Jonathan surrendering his right to rule. The result
was that David "clothed" himself with Jonathan so to speak, so that now he
was identified with him in the oneness of covenant (in which two
lives become one - cp Ge 2:24 - see
Oneness of Covenant
We see a clear parallel in our New Covenant partner Jesus Christ becoming a
man so that He might be able to cut a covenant in blood with sinful men (see
Lk 22:20). As a result of Jesus' humbling Himself and becoming obedient to
death on the Cross, sinners can now enter that New Covenant by grace through
faith. When we enter the New Covenant, we are baptized into (identified with
- see study of
baptizo) and clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27)
so that the Father now sees us through His Son. We have laid aside our
former filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and put on Christ (Some have referred to this
as the "Exchanged Life"). The exchange of our sinful robes ("clothes by
Adam" - 1Co 15:22) for the perfect righteous garment of Christ ("clothes by
Christ" - 1Co 1:30, 2Co 5:21) calls for a commitment to honor our Lord by
putting on His robe of righteousness daily or as Paul says in Colossians...
As you therefore have received (paralambano)
Christ Jesus the Lord (when you entered the New Covenant by faith), so
= command to make this your lifestyle, your habitual practice to conduct
yourself, it's a call to walk "not in perfection but in a general
direction...heavenward...homeward.") in Him (Do you see the "covenant
motif"? In union with, oneness with Him!) (Col 2:6-note)
Salvation is not just about getting us
from earth into heaven, but is about getting more of "heaven" into us on
earth! Now that Christ is our identity (positional truth = justified =
declared righteous = a one time event - see related discussion of the "Three
Tenses of Salvation") the call on our lives is to live like
Christ, to put off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light, to
put on Christ in our daily conduct (experiential truth - referring to our
progressive sanctification or "present tense" salvation, our lifelong growth
in Christlikeness) (Ro 13:12, 13, 14).
The night is almost gone (this
should motivate a sense of urgency beloved! cp Jn 9:4
Are you apathetic and indifferent or
urgent and expectant?), and
the day is at hand (See
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming).
Let us therefore (motivated by the doctrine of
lay aside (put off) the deeds of darkness (even as we would
discard dirty, smelly clothing).
Put on the armor of light (Practically
speaking = the deeds
corresponding to those who live in the light. Light is what others see and
the only way for them to see us in Christ's light is by observing our
behavior - What "Gospel" are you preaching with you conduct? Light [and
deeds of light] counters and exposes darkness and thus serves as "armor".). 13 Let us behave
properly (walk becomingly) as in the day ("clothes by Christ"), not in carousing and drunkenness,
not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy
("clothes by Adam"). 14 But (contrast
- think of contrast as a "change of direction" in this case from
darkness to light)
put on (enduo)
command with sense of "Do it now! Do it effectively". It's urgent!) the Lord Jesus Christ and
make no provision
- word study) (present
+ a negative = stop doing
this, implying they were making provision) for the
in regard to its
Left to ourselves, we don't even have the
"want to" or the desire to lay aside these old "friends" of the flesh, but
as we learn to surrender to the Spirit (die to self [Mk 8:34, 35], yielding
our will to His as an act of faith),
He gives us the desire and the power to work out our
salvation (See Php 2:13-note,
cp Ro 8:13-note).
Now as we walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16-note),
and are led by the Spirit (not a set of "laws" - Gal 5:18-note),
we will not carry out the
desire of the
The deeds that we carry out will be Spirit empowered and will look like
those that the Lord Jesus Christ would carry out (See the fruit of the
Spirit = each aspect of the fruit being perfectly pictured in Christ's life - Gal
That's what it means to put on Christ and live like Him. We will be
showing forth Christ's "clothes" to a lost and dying world.
Wayne Barber says it this way...
You can't do any more now in your own
strength than before you were saved...we must continually bow down before
Him and accept His the transforming power of His grace do its work...and
ultimately when people see us, they see Christ. The glory goes to Him and
not to us.
Now let's look at the
exchange of armor in the
covenant between Jonathan and David.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE
EXCHANGE OF ARMOR
there are two Hebrew words for covenant -
Beriyth [word study]
a contract made by passing between pieces of cut flesh and
- Divide or cut in two, make a
covenant. The phrase
in our English Bibles is almost always the Hebrew idiom
which more literally can be translated "cut a covenant".
Jeremiah records an account of King Zedekiah cutting a covenant with all
the people in Jerusalem to emancipate their slaves so that none of the
Jews should be in bondage, a covenant they initially obeyed, but then
disobeyed (Jer 34:8,9,10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
'And I will give the men who have
transgressed My covenant (Jer 34:13, 14 - reference here is to the
Mosaic Covenant - see Ex 21:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Dt 15:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
18), who have not fulfilled the words of the covenant (Beriyth)
which they made (karath - cut) before Me, when they cut (karath)
the calf in two and passed between its parts--19 the officials of
Judah, and the officials of Jerusalem, the court officers, and the
priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of
the calf--20 and I will give them into the hand of their enemies and
into the hand of those who seek their life. And their dead bodies shall
be food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth. (Jer
34:18, 19, 20)
Comment: According to the
ancient Eastern manner of cutting a covenant, both covenanting parties
passed through the divided pieces of the slain animal. This ritual was a
symbolic picture of the fate that would befall them if they broke the
covenant. In other words, by performing the covenant ritual, the two
parties were in essence pledging their very lives to the fulfillment of
the engagement they made. Covenant is serious business in Scripture!
Contracting parties in the "covenant" (not here the law in general, but
their covenant made before God in His house to emancipate their slaves,
Jer 34:8, 9) passed through the parts of the animal cut in two, implying
that they prayed so to be cut in sunder (Mt 24:51; Greek, "cut in two")
if they should break the covenant (Ge 15:10, 17)....The breakers of the
covenant shall be cut in pieces, as the calf between whose parts they
From this passage it is clear that in
Scripture covenant is a solemn, binding, intimate, even
inviolable contract. As we shall see in later studies, even death of a
covenant partner does not invalidate the promises of the covenant to
partner who remains alive.
Let's now look at the solemn covenant
Jonathan cut with David in 1Sa 18:3, 4.
What else besides his robe
David as a symbol of their having cut covenant?
His armor, his sword and his bow and his belt.
Armor is the Hebrew word
mad (04055) which refers first to that which is measured and then to
a cloth garment. Mad can denote a priest's garment (Lev 6:3), a
soldier's fighting garb as in the present context (1Sa 17:38; 1Sa 18:4;
2Sa 20:8) or an outer garment (1Sa 4:12; Jdg 3:16).
Expositor's Bible Commentary
Saul had earlier tried to put his
tunic and armor on David, but to no avail (1Sa 17:38, 39). Jonathan now
gives his own tunic and armor (including a type of belt that was often
used to hold a sheathed dagger; cf. 2Sa 20:8) to David, who apparently
accepts it without further ado. "David can receive from Jonathan what he
cannot receive from Saul" (ibid., p. 80).
What did the exchange of
armor, sword and bow in
When Jonathan gave David his military accoutrements, it
symbolized that as his covenant partner, Jonathan was now obligated to protect and
defend David no matter the cost. In other words this ritual symbolized a clear
commitment that each covenant partner would defend and avenge the other
It follows that whoever is one partner's enemy is the other partner's enemy.
Conversely, the friend
of one partner is also the friend of the other partner. It is
interesting to note a remnant of this truth in the secular "proverb" "The
enemy of my enemy is my friend." (Wikipedia)
Max Anders writes that...
Israel used swords of bronze well
into the time of David, since the Philistines alone knew the secret of
forging swords from iron. In fact, when Jonathan gave David his sword (1
Sam. 18:4), he gave him a great gift because in all Israel only the king
and his son had swords and spears of iron. (Holman Old Testament
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
notes the record of...
the exchange of armor between Glaucus
and Diomede when they met before Troy and thus confirmed the pledge of
old family friendship (Homer The Iliad VI. 230).
Why was this aspect of their covenant so significant at this particular
time in David's life?
David's life was in danger. As
Jehovah prospered David (1Sa 18:5, 14, 15) Saul progressively became
angry (1Sa 18:8), suspicious (1Sa 18:9), fearful (1Sa 18:12) and full of
dread (1Sa 18:15) toward David finally culminating in his desire to "put
David to death" (1Sa 19:1)
How binding is the covenant between
Jonathan and David according to 1Sa 19:1,
2, 3, 4, 5? Specifically how does the loyalty to one's covenant partner compare with
Jonathan reassures David he is committed to his safety
proves it by interceding with his father King Saul which temporarily caused
Saul to renege on his desire to put David to death. Clearly loyalty to
one's covenant partner takes precedence over loyalty even to one's own
How do we see the
binding nature of
covenant and the
putting of the interests of the covenant partner above personal and
family interests in 1Sa 20:1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 9, 10, 11, 12?
Background: In 1Samuel 20
David and Jonathan work out a plan to find out whether Saul is really
out to kill him. We see Jonathan honoring his commitment to David and we
see how covenant is a sacred pledge to defend one another.
Jonathan commits to David "What you
say I will do for you". David asked Jonathan to "deal kindly
(hesed) with your
servant" in view of the fact that he had "brought (David) into a
covenant of the LORD" with him. (1Sa 20:8) Jonathan reaffirms he will
tell David of any evil his father plans against him (1Sa 20:9) Jonathan
invokes an oath in (1Sa 20:12NIV) "By the LORD, the God of Israel",
stating that he will relate any plot by his father to kill David. Thus
again we see how solemn and binding Jonathan considered their covenant.
Note that both David (1Sa 20:8) and
Jonathan (1Sa 20:14, 15) appeal to the Hebrew concept of
the loyal steadfast love which in the OT is frequently associated with
[see word study])
is the idea of faithful love in action and often in the OT refers to
God's lovingkindness expressed in His covenant relationship with Israel
(His "loyal love" to His "Wife" Israel [cp Hos 2:18, 19, 20-see
Is 54:5, Je 31:32] = His "loyalty to covenant"). God's hesed His
denotes persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, and mercy, a
relationship in which He seeks after man with love and mercy (cp God
immediately seeking man Ge 3:9, who was immediately hiding Ge 3:8 trying
to cover their shame Ge 3:7 - contrast God's lovingkindness manifest by
spilling blood to provide skins to cover their shame! Ge 3:21). Hesed
expresses both God's loyalty to His covenant and His love for His people
along with a faithfulness to keep His promises.
How serious is Jonathan
about the covenant with David
Jonathan declares in essence may the
LORD (Who is the Witness of their covenant) take his life if he does not
protect his covenant partner David. Jonathan understood that covenant was
serious and binding and that the covenant
partners were obligated to defend one another even to the death. The
Berkley Version translates it this way
"So may the LORD repay Jonathan and
worse, if my father has set his mind to harm you, if I do not let you
know so that you can leave in peace."
DOES GOD DEFEND
HIS COVENANT PARTNER
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
Ps 105:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 (see
teach about God's defense of those in
covenant with Him?
God Remembered His covenant (Ps 105:8)! The basis for His defense
was His covenant with Abraham which is forever, everlasting (Ps 105:9, 10).
Based on this God, Israel's covenant defender, "permitted no man to oppress
(Hebrew = abuse of power or authority, trampling or crushing those of lower
social status) and reproved kings for their sakes." (Ps 105:14)
God was in covenant with Israel and as they moved, God put a shield of
protection around them to protect them from their enemies (cf Nu
21:33, 34, 35). God
remove His shield of protection as long as Israel walked in obedience
to the covenant. (cf "the blessing and the curse" in Dt 30:19 - see
Dt 28:1ff, Dt 29:1ff, Dt 30:1ff) When
Israel was disobedient, God lifted His shield of protection and let
her enemies afflict and chastise her in order to bring her to her to
confession and repentance (see Daniel's great prayer Da 9:4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19-
Application: As believers
in Jesus Christ, we are in covenant with God. How do we treat God's covenant
children? Do we remember that they are also in covenant with God? Do we
choose "not touch God's anointed ones"
(Ps 105:15)? Or do we fight with God's Covenant
Beware, because if we do, God is
bound to come to the aid of His Covenant partners! Chew on that thought the
next time you think about demeaning, denigrating or otherwise "touching" one
of God's "anointed ones". 1Sa 26:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 records the story
of David taking King Saul's spear and water jug while Saul was sound asleep.
Clearly David had an opportunity to kill Saul (who was seeking to kill
David) but but would not touch God's anointed, declaring "The LORD
forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed".
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
by Isaac Watts
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
IS THE LORD'S
Let's look at another example of God
defending those with whom He is in covenant...
In one of many examples of God's defense of His people with whom He was
in covenant note that when the Moabites and Ammonites came against
King Jehoshaphat, (one
of the godly kings of the Southern Division) was afraid and this
prompted him to respond by seeking his Covenant Defender.
This truth alone is worth remembering the next time we sense an
impending attack, especially an attack because of our faith in Christ.
Scripture records that...
Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his
attention to seek the LORD; and proclaimed a fast throughout all
Judah...and he said, "O LORD, the God of our fathers (this description
appeals to the covenant Jehovah had cut with their "fathers", Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob), art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not
ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy
hand so that no one can stand against Thee...Should evil come upon us,
the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before
this house and before Thee (for Thy name is in this house) and cry to
Thee in our distress, and Thou wilt hear and deliver us...O our God,
wilt Thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great
multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our
eyes are on Thee." (2Chr 20:3, 4, 5,6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11, 12)
In response to the King's plea to
Jehovah, Israel's Covenant Defender, sent an answer via His prophet
Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and
King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not fear or be
dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours
but God's (This is "covenant language" - the battle is not yours but
your Covenant Partner's battle!)...You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see
the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not
fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD
(your Covenant Defender) is with
you." (2Chr 20:15, 16, 17)
Can you see the personal
application? We are in Covenant with the living God. He is our
Protector. We do not have to defend ourselves. We do not take vengeance
on anyone for what they do to us. We simply put on His garment and He
will our Avenger. You can mark it down. Now this does not mean we will
never be harmed or never go through valleys. But God will avenge His
people because as discussed below, He has an eternal perspective
regarding his perfect justice and vengeance. May
God's Spirit grant us grace to rest in the sufficiency of the
truth that we have a Covenant Defender in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
Second Chronicles goes on to
record that the Israelites sent a choir to meet the enemy! (Read this
account in 2Chr 20:18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 -- As an
aside remember that "God inhabits the praises of His people" Ps
God confused their enemy so that they killed themselves! God acted just as
He said He would. And He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (He 13:8-note).
His promise are yea and amen in Christ our Covenant Partner (2Cor
God defended His people and destroyed
the Moabite and Ammonite armies. This is one of many Old Testament examples in which
God showed Himself to be Israel's Covenant Defender and Protector.
HIS COVENANT PARTNERS?
Paul) doing to the disciples and the Way in
Acts 8:1, 2, 3, 9:1, 2?
(1) Agreed with putting
Stephen (filled with Spirit, grace, power Ac 6:3, 5, 8, 7:55) to death
(2) Ravaging the church (Ac 8:3)
(3) Putting Christians in prison (Ac 8:3)
(4) Breathing threats and murder against
the disciples of the Lord (Ac 9:1)
The fact that Stephen was stoned to "sleep" does not mean God was not
fulfilling His obligations as Stephen's Covenant Defender. As discussed
below God is responsible to protect us and He does unless it serves a higher
purpose for us not to be delivered. Stephen ultimately was
delivered into the presence of the Lord, a far better deliverance! And only
eternity will reveal the impact (the higher purpose) that Stephen's
martyrdom had on the heart of Saul! (see Acts 7:58, 59, 60)
Who did Saul encounter on the road to Damascus and what is His question
(Acts 9:3, 4, 5, 6, 7)?
And it came about that as he
journeyed, he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven
flashed around him; and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul,
why are you persecuting Me?" And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said,"
I am Jesus whom you are
persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do." And the men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but
seeing no one.
Comment: Saul encountered Jesus -
notice that Saul was not seeking Jesus, but Jesus was seeking Saul! Note
also that Jesus did not ask Saul "Why are you persecuting Stephen or
the disciples...but Me"? When a person is in covenant with the
living God and someone comes against that person they are also coming
against that person's covenant partner, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is a God
who stands to defend His covenant people who have entered into His covenant
Where was Jesus? What is the
implication of the question
He asked Saul?
Jesus was in heaven
and yet was still Saul of persecuting Him through his persecution of His covenant
partners who now wore His robe and possessed His armor. As
the result of the exchange of identities, when Saul persecuted
disciples of Jesus, He was persecuting their Covenant Partner, the Lord Jesus Christ!
To persecute the members of His body, the church, is to persecute Jesus the
covenant Head. And because of the New Covenant in His blood, He is obligated
to defend those in covenant with Him.
Rightly did the hymnwriter Johann H
Schroder make the plea...
Help Us, O Jesus, Thou Mighty Defender
Help us, O Jesus, Thou mighty Defender,
Help when the forces of evil appear;
Help us to battle and never surrender,
Help us to conquer, and drive away fear;
Satan is cunning, the prince of deceivers,
Bringing disaster to many believers.
Help us, O Jesus, in hours of temptation,
When both our faith and our courage are weak;
Teach us to look to the sign of salvation,
And near Thy cross a new armor to seek;
Then we shall conquer, if Thou wilt befriend us,
Thou wilt prevail and our faith will defend us.
Help us, O Jesus, when death shall spread terror,
And our poor eyes are too feeble to see;
Cleanse us and purge us from sin and from error;
That we may blindly in faith cling to Thee;
Help us, O Jesus, we conquer in dying,
Unto the last on Thy mercy relying.
R Kent Hughes writes that Paul...
now understood the spiritual unity
between the Savior and the saints.
R. K. Acts: The Church Afire. Preaching the Word. Crossway Books
John MacArthur concludes that...
Our Lord's words "Why are you
persecuting Me?" reflect the inseparable link between Himself, as head
of the body, and its members. No blow struck on earth goes unfelt in heaven
by our sympathetic High Priest (Heb 2:18-note,
Heb 4:15-note). By persecuting Christians, Saul inflicted
blows directly on their Lord.
J: Acts 1-12; Acts
13-28 Moody Press or
Stanley Toussaint comments that...
The reference to Me (Acts 9:4) gave
Saul his first glimpse into the great doctrine of Christians being in
Christ (Ed: See notes on the truth of "in
J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor
Kistemaker notes that...
Saul was victimizing Christians. However,
the Lord told Saul that Jesus and the church are one, so that when
believers suffer for Christ, both Jesus and his followers endure the pain.
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book
Erwin Lutzer encourages all
...not think of Christ as so far removed
that He is only remotely affected by our personal pain and struggles....Our
trials never escape His notice; the heavenly circuits are never
overloaded...When His people hurt, Christ hurt. When they felt alienated and
rejected, He felt likewise. He is “touched with the feelings of our
Savonarola gained fame as a preacher in
Florence, predicting that a flood of judgment would come upon the city if it
did not repent. He attacked the lax, corrupt citizens through fiery
preaching and censorship. During the carnival in 1496 he orchestrated “the
bonfire of the vanities” a ceremony where people brought their gambling
artifacts, lewd books, and cosmetics to be burned. He was excommunicated for
refusing to stop preaching against the pope, and later he was tried for
heresy and executed. Despite the reversals he experienced, and though the
truth did not triumph in his day, before his death he said, “He who believes
that Christ rules above, need not fear what happens below!” (Ed
comment: Beloved, this saint of yore understood the timeless truth of
our eternal covenant relationship with Jesus!) (Lutzer, Erwin: Christ
Among Other Gods)
Kay Arthur asks...
Have you ever been afraid? Were you
afraid your enemies would overwhelm you? Ever been so weak, so void of
strength that you couldn't go on? You have a Covenant Partner. He has cut
covenant with you. That covenant causes Him to defend you against your
enemies; to lend you His strength....(Your Covenant Partner Jesus in
essence) says "I am now bound to defend you from your enemies. So if
anyone comes against you...because we are in covenant and covenant is the
most solemn binding agreement that can be made between two parties, then I
by covenant am bound to defend you from your enemies. I must come to your
defense, be your protector." Christ...is our Covenant Partner and He is
bound to defend us from our enemies.
J Vernon McGee has a pithy
personal application from Acts 9:4 commenting that Christ...
may be saying the same thing to some
Christians today. Although they profess to know and to love the Lord, He
asks, "Why are you persecuting Me?" They would protest, I'm not persecuting
You, Lord; I love You!" Then the Lord would answer, "Then why do you
criticize Mr. So-and-So so severely? Why are you so opposed to those who are
giving out the Word of God today? Why is it that you have become a hindrance
instead of a helper?" May I say to you, we must be careful about saying we
love Him and then showing our hatred to other believers. It is impossible to
talk about loving the Lord while you spend your time trying to destroy the
ministry of someone else. That is just blatant, bald, bold hypocrisy.
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
John MacArthur makes the
interesting observation that...
There is an Old Testament parallel to
this truth. Zechariah told the nation of Israel, "He who touches you,
touches the apple of [God's] eye (Zech 2:8). The apple of His eye"
refers to the pupil. God was saying those who persecute Israel are poking
their finger in His eye. That is precisely the same kind of relationship
Christ has with the church. He is seriously irritated when anyone offends
His chosen ones (cf Mt 18:6, 10). (Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church
Becomes Like the World).
What does this teach about
those who have entered the New Covenant
Two become one when they enter into covenant. If you
"touch" (eg, to harm or injure) the
covenant partner, you are "touching" the other partner also
because of this mystical but very real identification! Based upon the
solemn and binding nature of the New Covenant, Jesus is "obligated" to
come to the defense of His covenant partners. Can you begin to understand
some of the practical implications of being in covenant with Christ? Do you believe this
truth? If you are born again, you can rest assured that Jesus is your
Covenant Defender today and forever. Hallelujah!
Believers are in Covenant with the living
God, Who is our Protector. We are not to take our vengeance beloved but
leave that to our Covenant Partner who is our Avenger. Of course, this truth
does not guarantee we will never be harmed or never experience times of
persecution. In fact, persecution is one of God's "promises"! (2Ti 3:12-note,
cp Mt 10:22, 23, 24, 25, Jn 15:19, 20, 21, 17:14, Acts 14:22, Php 1:29-note).
But the oneness of covenant guarantees that God will avenge wrongs done
to us either in this life or in the future time of judgment.
GOD'S PERSPECTIVE REGARDING
AVENGING AFFLICTIONS AGAINST BELIEVERS
What was the church at
(2Th 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Persecutions (in the plural!), afflictions
(in the plural!),
BDAG defines "persecutions"
as "a program or process designed to harass and oppress."
Afflictions is the picturesque
was used in medicine of the pressure of the pulse (allowing one to count the
It is a pressing together as of grapes.
It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed
beneath a weight. When, according to the ancient law of England, those who
willfully refused to plead guilty, had heavy weights placed on their
breasts, and were pressed and crushed to death, this was literally
Thlipsis thus refers not to
mild discomfort but to great difficulty.
Morris rightly notes that...
No one likes troubles of this kind, but
they may be seen as difficulties to be overcome, as ways of opening up new
possibilities. One who sees them in this light glories in them (Ibid)
Whatever virtues tribulation finds us in,
it develops more fully. If anyone is carnal, weak, blind, wicked, irascible,
haughty, and so forth, tribulation will make him more carnal, weak, blind,
wicked and irritable. On the other hand, if one is spiritual, strong, wise,
pious, gentle and humble, he will become more spiritual, powerful, wise,
pious, gentle and humble.
In his letter to the suffering saints at
Thessalonica Paul writes...
2 Grace to you and peace (interesting!
They weren't experiencing external peace but persecutions and yet Paul asks
God for peace for them in the midst of their afflictions, which practically
means that such a supernatural state is possible form them! Practically,
beloved, such a supernatural state is possible for you also dear beleaguered
downtrodden covenant partner of the Most High God Who is the same yesterday,
today and forever. May you too experience His peace that passes all human
understanding even in the midst of the storms you are experiencing, all only
possible by hiding in your Covenant Partner Christ Jesus. Amen) from God the
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought (literally "owe a debt" - have a strong obligation to) always to
give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith
is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another
grows ever greater;
4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for
your perseverance (hupomone)
and faith (pistis)
in the midst of all your persecutions (diogmos)
and afflictions (thlipsis)
which you endure (anechomai).
5 This is a plain indication of God's righteous (dikaios)
judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for
which indeed you are suffering (pascho).
(Comment: Their enduring the "fires" of persecution proves that their
faith is genuine and thus they are "worthy" for the Kingdom. Their endurance
does not merit or earn their salvation but proves it is genuine because the
only way one could endure such afflictions to the end is by being
6 For after all it is only just for God to repay (antapodidomi)
with affliction (thlipsis)
those who afflict (thlibo)
7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when
the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in
flaming fire (Second Coming - see Mt 24:30, 31, 13:41, 42, 25:31, see
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming),
8 dealing out retribution (= vengeance - see
to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our
Lord Jesus. (Note that the "definition" of one who has not entered
the New Covenant and thereby into intimate communion with Christ [this is
knowing God] does not obey the Gospel. Obedience like perseverance does not
save anyone, but it does "prove" or demonstrate that they are saved, because
if one is truly born again from above, they are a new creature in the New
Covenant and have a new indwelling impetus [the Spirit of Holiness] Who
impels them toward holy living - not perfection but certainly in the general
direction of heaven rather than living a life generally in the opposite
direction. It is this latter group who will experience the vengeance of the
Almighty, Holy God).
9 And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction (olethros =
not annihilation but a state of utter ruin), away from the presence of the
Lord and from the glory of His power, (Note the "definition" of "hell" is
separation of those created in the image of God from the presence of their
Creator - this is a most painful truth regarding hell and serves as strong
motivation to share Christ whenever God gives me an opportunity.)
10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be
marveled (Beloved - we will not be bored in eternity - to the contrary we
will be astonished, struck with wonder and admiration! O, glorious day when
we behold His glory face to face. Maranatha! Amen) at among all who have
believed-- for our testimony to you was believed.
How were they responding to their
With perseverance (hupomone)
and faith (pistis)
They were enduring (anechomai)
which conveys the idea of holding out in spite of persecution, threats,
injury, indifference, or complaints and not
seeking to retaliate. What must they have known that "enabled" them
not to retaliate? Did they understand the concept of Covenant
Defender? We can't say for certain but it is certainly possible given that
their teacher Paul had an up close encounter with the truth that Jesus
defends those who are in covenant with Him (Acts 9:5). In that case Jesus
defended them by saving Saul the one who was persecuting the church!
What does God promise those who are experience persecution and affliction
because they are in covenant
God will repay with affliction
those who afflicted them. He will deal out retribution.
Our persecutors will pay the penalty of eternal
What is our Covenant Keeping God's
promise to believers who are experiencing fiery trials in this presence evil
God will give relief to all who
are afflicted! Hallelujah!
Does the fact that
Jesus is responsible to defend us mean that nothing bad will ever happen in
No. Obviously that is not the case as
these passages clearly explain. What can be counted on is the truth that God
keeps all of His covenant promises, although He does so with an eternal
perspective. Situations may
occur in which we think (or feel as if) our Covenant Partner has abandoned us, but the
reality is that at that moment, we do not possess God's eternal view of our
afflictions. And it may not be until His return that
the repayment of affliction against us is paid in full (cp Ro 12:14-note,
Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note).
What our Covenant Partner is reminding us
through Paul's letter to the Thessalonians is that there will be "pay
day, some day". We can count on that, for God is not a man that He
should lie (Nu 23:19). We need to let that living and active truth penetrate
into our heart (He 4:12-note)
and "renew our mind" (Ep 4:23-note),
transform our thinking (Ro 12:2-note)
and energize holy conduct ( = a worthy walk - Ep 4:1-note).
And it is this revelation of truth which will counter the lies (cp Jn 8:44,
8:32, 36), those fiery missiles (Eph 6:16-note)
that Satan throws at us to create doubt and despair, shouting/whispering
imprecations (invocations of evil) like "God doesn't care about you. Look
at the suffering He is allowing you to experience. Where is your God now
that you need Him? And you're going to trust a God like that?, etc, etc."
Paul extinguishes these destructive fiery missiles with truth that
undergirds our faith and empowers us to live as more than conquerors in and
through our Covenant Defender Christ Jesus (Ro 8:37KJV-note).
THE BATTLE IS THE LORDS:
DO YOU BELIEVE IT?
What do you as those who have entered
the New Covenant
not have to do now that
you understand Jesus is your Covenant Defender?
You don't have to defend yourselves
anymore. This is radical! Beloved, when you lay hold of (you believe) the divine maxim that
the all knowing, all powerful, perfectly just God is your personal Covenant Defender
and even better when that truth "gets hold" of you (you obey it and act upon
it rather than reacting like you did when you were clothed with Adam), you
will find this truth about your Covenant Defender to be one of the keys to
the "victorious Christian life." When you understand and believe and act on
the truth that your defense is God's responsibility and not yours, it is
liberating. You begin to live in the reality of the truth that "the
battle really is the Lord's!" This truth is part of what Paul was
referring to in Php 4:11 when he said...
When we put on our Covenant Partner's
garment of righteousness, we put on His nature, His person and His
character, we become a partaker of everything that He is. All that we are
for all Christ is! What an incredible transaction! And what does this look
like when I am living in concert with my new clothing of Christ? This
equates with being filled with His Spirit (Eph 5:18-note),
of walking by His Spirit (Gal 5:16-note),
of walking in the Light (1Jn 1:7), of abiding in the Vine (Jn 15:5),
remembering that apart from our Covenant Partner's sovereign enabling grace we can do
absolutely nothing of eternal value. In short, we need to live in the light
of the truth that now we no longer have the right to defend or avenge ourselves.
We have surrendered our rights to our Covenant Partner (cp 1Co 6:19-note,
Who is also our Master (cp relationship of a slave =
doulos to their Master =
and He is responsible to defend us. Now we are to conduct ourselves in such a way that we protect His
Are you bitter at someone who has done you evil? Many Christians are
bitter at others who have done evil, hurtful, sinful things to or against
them. You may experienced or currently are in a marriage
that is very painful and you are harboring bitterness against your covenant
partner (see related study
Covenant As It Relates to Marriage). You may be bitter toward a
coworker, a mother, a father or other relative.
What you need to remember is that the sinful attitude of bitterness is the
very robe that Jesus Christ wore to the Cross when He became our sin
(including the sin of bitterness) substitute (2Co 5:21,
Now, when we stand in His robe of righteousness (1Co 1:30), having been made
a partaker of His divine nature (2Pe 1:4-note),
there is no place for bitterness. We are no longer to seek to defend our self
but to trust our Covenant Partner. We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, in a way that
defends our Covenant Partner's Name. As Peter puts it, those who are in the
New Covenant are called to imitate the Covenant Head Who left...
an example (hupogrammos) for you to follow
steps...and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while
suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who
judges righteously (1Pe 2:21-note,
Comment: What divine dynamic do
you see in the phrase "kept entrusting Himself to Him Who judges
righteously?" Jesus knew that His Father would judge the evil doers
righteously and in His perfect timing would (will) deal out retribution
which is due His revilers and persecutors. And God promises to do the same
thing for those in covenant with His Son! (see preceding discussion on 2Thes
Wayne Barber observes...
How often in counseling does the
embittered party say "You just don't understand what they have done to me."
I want to say back to them "But you don't realize that you are just like
them. The same hatred in them that has caused you the hurt, is also in you
and you want to inflict it back on them. You have forgotten that Jesus bore
that ugly robe to the Cross so that now you can put on His robe of
righteousness and respond like He would respond."
A COVENANT PARTNER'S
RESPONSE TO PERSECUTION
What is to be our response when we
experience persecution from our enemies (Ro 12:14
("eulogize them" - Webster says eulogize = to extol praise highly
in speech or writing!) those who persecute you;
Bless is the Greek word
eulogeo [word study]
from eu = good + lego =
this to be our habitual action! Literally eulogeo means to
speak well of! How can I do this? You are probably like me, saying there is
no way I can respond like this. I simply can't do it! Good! As Major
Ian Thomas used to say (the saying below is paraphrased) in
reference to living the supernatural, Christ life...
He never said you could
but He can
And He always said He would!
To speak well of one who is an
adversary (and really mean it as a genuine reflection of one's heart
attitude!) is only possible filled with Christ's Spirit, and is not possible by
relying on self, for the residual sinful
will always seek revenge, to "make it right", to get 'em back!
Curse not is also in the
which combined with a "negative" means to "stop an action that is
already going on". The implication is that the saints at Rome were
responding negatively to persecution. Paul says "Stop cursing them!"
Live in the garment of the Christ, not the dirty rotten rags of Adam!
What else are covenant
partners commanded to do
Never pay back evil for evil. Respect
what is right. Be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge. Leave
room for wrath of God -- see (Note).
Comment: Pay back is
and in this context conveys the sense of a command. The point is that we are
continually never to seek pay back evil! Never ever is the idea! Try to
accomplish this instruction in your own strength!
Why do this
Or how can you do this?
From an intellectual (truth or knowledge)
viewpoint, we can do this - Knowing that...
Vengeance is God's and
He will repay
OT Example). From a spiritual
standpoint we can only do this by yielding to Christ in us, allowing Him to
give us both the desire and the power to comply. There is simply no other
way. And don't be discouraged if you don't always experience "success", for
this is a life long lesson of learning to lean on the Lord and His
sufficient strength. (cp Php 4:11, 12-note,
Beloved, you can be absolutely
that God will repay those who have wounded, hurt, abused, mistreated, or even
tried to destroy you. I have personally experienced His protection in a work
situation where a co-worker was literally trying to destroy my reputation. I
won't say what God did in this situation, but suffice to say "Vengeance was
His" in the fullest measure! There are other times His defense has not been
so "real time" but I remain fully convinced that the timing of His just
retribution is perfect and always has a divine, even eternal, purpose.
How else should we respond
to our enemies (Ro 12:20-notes)?
where both verbs are
which are commands calling for this to be our continual, habitual practice! "Heap burning
coals" on head. Do not be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good
How are believers to respond to their
in light of the truth that Jesus is our Covenant Defender (Mt 5:44
= continually) your enemies and
= continually) for those who persecute you.
In sum, we are to respond as Jesus would
respond. How? Strengthened by His Spirit, each time you are "tempted" to
take revenge, die to self. Remember that a key to living the so-called
"victorious" Christian life is living in light of truth that the battle
is the Lord's.
is the verb
which is not an emotion but a
volitional (Spirit enabled) choice of our will. The root is agape
which is the love of serving with humility, the highest kind of love, the
love which is not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction,
or sentimental relationship. From all of the descriptions of agape
love, it is clear that true agape love is a sure mark of salvation.
Agape is unrestricted, unrestrained, and unconditional. Agape
is a love that denies self for the benefit of the one who receives the love.
Agape is the love which the Holy Spirit has poured out within the
heart of the every New Covenant believer (Ro 5:5-note)
The following phrases summarize how we
can carry out Paul's instructions regarding abstaining from revenge and
practicing agape love...
It is Impossible
But it is Him-possible!
Death to self.
Dependence on the Spirit.
Since God will defend us and will
repay every evil deed, we are to stand firm in this truth but not with the
attitude that "I'll be kind to you now because I know God will get you
later!" Our attitude is to be that of Stephen (Acts 7:60) and of
our Lord (putting "on the Lord Jesus Christ") (Lk 23:34) both of whom prayed
from their murderers as they themselves were dying!
What does Jesus say will be true
of those in covenant
(Jn 15:18, 19, 20, 21)?
John 15:12 (Jesus speaking) This
is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his
friends. 14 "You are My friends, if you do what I command you....18 "If
("If" = first class condition which signifies that what follows is
true) the world hates you, you
know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the
world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world,
but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his
master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept
My word, they will keep yours also. 21 "But all these things they will do to
you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 "If
I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they
have no excuse for their sin. 23 "He who hates Me hates My Father also.
Comment: "Friend" is a covenant
term. To be a friend of Jesus is to do what He says. And because we are in
covenant with Him, His enemies now become our enemies. The world hates us
because we are not of the world (Jn 15:19). Believers are now in the world
but not of the world. A boat in water is by design. Water (world in a
Christian) is disaster. John 3:20 gives another reason the world hates us -
the light of Christ in as (especially as we are wearing His garments and
living out His life) exposes the deeds of those who do evil. For this reason
they hated Jesus and they will hate His covenant partners. And the world
will persecute them. (See related notes from Jesus' Sermon on
the Mount regarding the meaning of salt and light - Mt 5:13-note,
Mt 5:14, 15,1 6-note).
The Greek word
for "world" is
which in this context describes this
present evil man-centered (humanistic) world-system ruled and directed
by Satan. John writes that the whole world lies in the hands of the evil
one (1Jn 5:19). Kosmos is the world apart from God
and opposed to Him. God called to Himself a covenant people out of this
world to live distinctively different from everyone else on the
face of the earth (this idea is the inherent in the root meaning of
"holy" or "saint
[see study]). That puts
them at enmity with the world. Why? The world does not love God. It hates
Jesus Christ because the world lies in darkness and in the hands of the evil
For completeness note that God's
enemies include the
devil. The whole world lies in
the power of the evil one (1Jn 5:19, cp Acts 26:18, Ep 2:2-note).
When Christ cut the New Covenant in His blood, He defeated all three enemies
and now in covenant with him they have no power over us except the power we
allow them to have. Because of the Cross, we are dead to Sin but alive to
God in Christ (Ro 6:11-note),
the devil is rendered powerless (Heb 2:14-note)
and the evil world system is crucified to us and us to it (Gal 6:14-note).
Now believers have the power to choose not to befriend the world
(the flesh or the devil), which is discussed below.
What do believers have to do now?
They must "wear His robe"
"Salt" to preserve from evil and
"Light" to dispel darkness (Which causes world to hate us as
We are called out of the world to live as Christ lived. We have
exchanged robes. We have put an the identity and the character of the
Lord Jesus Christ, and so not surprisingly when by the power of His
Spirit show forth His, the unrighteousness of the world is condemned.
Believers are in the
world but not of the world. We are in covenant with Christ and therefore
cannot be in covenant with the world system intractably opposed to God.
His disciples are now given the high calling and privilege to be the
salt of the earth, a world which is being corrupted by the lusts of
deceit. And as salt we are to serve as preservatives from evil (Mt 5:13-note). We
are also lights of the world (Mt 5:14, 15, 16-note),
and as such are to dispel darkness and expose evil. So it is not surprising that the world hates us
(cp 2Ti 3:12-note,
THE BELIEVERS INTERACTION
WITH OUR COVENANT PARTNER'S ENEMY
How are we as God's covenant
partners to respond to His enemies? (1Jn 2:15, 16, 17)?
Do not love the world (stop loving the
world - see explanation below) and
Do not love things of the world
Do not love
negative = stop doing this) the world, nor the things in the world. If
anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the
boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17
And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the
will of God abides forever. (1Jn 2:15-note 1Jn
What is it specifically that
we are not to love about the world? (1Jn 2:15, 16, 17)?
Lusts of the flesh,
Lusts of the eyes,
Boastful pride of life.
Why else should we not
love these things
The world is passing away,
even its lusts.
What does James teach about
taking on God's enemies (Jas 4:4-note)?
Don't be friends with the world
= one unfaithful to marriage vows.
Figuratively as in this verse of one who is unfaithful toward God as an
adulteress is unfaithful toward her husband. In the Greek OT it is used
mainly of those who forsook God for idols)! Don't you know that
friendship with the world is enmity against God. Therefore whoever
wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy with God. (Jas 4:4-note)
The Amplified Version of James 4:4
is even more direct:
You [are like] unfaithful wives [having
illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]!
Do you not know that being the world's friend is being God's enemy? So
whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of
Why not be friends of the world?
We would be adulteresses and
friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Because of covenant we
are obligated to defend God against His enemy the world. We do that by not
becoming bound to the world, not loving the world, not becoming friends of
When we become friends with the world
while waiting for the heavenly bridegroom to come we are acting like a
harlot. Paul picks up on this picture of those who are in covenant with
Christ, betrothed to Him as our Bridegroom and we as His bride forever,
I am jealous for you with a godly
jealousy; for I betrothed (Greek =
= from the noun meaning "joint" and so to fitly join together) you to one husband, that to Christ I might
present you as a pure virgin." (2Cor 11:2)
The Biblical concept of
betrothal unlike our modern idea of engagement was a much more serious matter and was
essentially analogous to a covenant. To break that pre-nuptial covenant, a bill of
divorcement was required. If impurity (any unfaithfulness was considered
adultery) was found in the bride, then the bride could actually be put
to death. Paul is acting like a Jewish father who is giving his
daughter, the Corinthian believers (and by analogy all believers), to
their bridegroom, Christ. Betrothal lasted for about twelve months,
during which the home was to be prepared by the groom, and the wedding
clothes would be prepared by the bride. In summary, as those in who are
in covenant and betrothed to Jesus Christ, we should hate our
Bridegroom's enemies and so keep ourselves
unstained (literally without spot or
blemish...on our "bright, fine linen" wedding gowns, the new clothes we
are in by virtue of our betrothal to Christ) by the world. (James 1:27-note)
Since the world is God's enemy, we must
understand that we are understand that even though we are in the world
we must consciously, constantly make decisions that reflect our separation
from the world. Paul addressed this truth in his letter to the Corinthians
Do not be bound
negative = stop doing this) with
unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or
what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer (in
covenant with Christ) in
common with an unbeliever (not in covenant with Christ)?
16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the
temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND
WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17 "Therefore, COME OUT
Command to do this now! Don't delay! It's urgent!) FROM THEIR MIDST (Ed:
The midst of God's enemies!) AND
imperative) ," says the
Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH
with the negative this means "Stop touching that which is unclean!") WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters
to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. 2Co
7:1 Therefore (term
of conclusion), having these promises
preceding context), beloved,
let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God (How important is a healthy,
of God in motivating us to continually choose for God and not for His
enemy? see also 1Pe 1:17-note).
(2Cor 6:14-18, 2Co 7:1-note
What is the message?
When we live like Christ, empowered by His Spirit, we will feel out of step with the
will continually be tempted to stand with one
foot in the world and one foot in Christianity which is another way to
compromise and which creates great anxiety. Such compromise reflects a
divided loyalty, when in the New Covenant our loyalty is to be
continually directed to our covenant partner, Jesus. We will continually
be tempted to become friends (remembering "friend" is a "covenant term") with this
world system so that it might be "easier" to live in the midst of their
darkness and the world's ever present anti-god attitude and actions. The temptation
will continually be to compromise our walk (and our witness), but,
whenever that temptation comes, we are
to gird our minds for action, consciously, intentionally recalling the
truth that the
(irregardless of how soft,
sensual or seductive it might
sound and appear) is our Covenant Partner's mortal enemy and therefore
is also our mortal enemy because of
our solemn, binding covenant with Christ our Friend. When we stand on truth, we
are enabled by our Covenant Partner to stand against the lies of
the world and it's bitter enmity toward us. Jesus alluded to the danger
of a divided
heart teaching that...
one (Greek word = not relatively no one but absolutely no one - no
exceptions to this principle) can serve (douleuo) two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or he will hold to one (antechomai) and despise
(kataphroneo) the other. You (absolutely) cannot serve
God and mammon ("the god of materialism"). (Mt 6:24-note)
O grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell but Thy pure love alone;
O may Thy love possess me whole,
My Joy, my Treasure and my Crown
Strange flames far from my heart remove;
My every act, word, thought be love.
Are there some ways I have been siding
with God's enemies
and therefore siding against God, my Covenant Partner?
SYMBOLIC OF STRENGTH
What is the symbolism of Jonathan
giving his belt to David?
In the ancient world the belt
(Hebrew = hagora) may have been a symbol of a man's strength so
that Jonathan may have been symbolically giving his "strength" to his
covenant partner. While this is a somewhat speculative conclusion, this
Hebrew word and its cognates are often used in a military context.
For example, the related word
chagora is used in a military context in...
2Samuel 20:8 When they were at the
large stone which is in Gibeon, Amasa came to meet them. Now Joab was
dressed in his military attire, and over it was a belt with a
sword in its sheath fastened at his waist; and as he went forward, it
The related verb form chagar
is used of the girding on of a sword...
And David girded his sword
over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David
said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." And
David took them off. (1Sa 17:39)
Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, In Thy splendor and
Thy majesty! (Ps 45:3-note)
Baker comments on the belt...
was a valuable and desirable part of
a soldier’s military uniform (2Sa 18:11). To stain or to put the blood
of battle on one’s belt was to be guilty of violent bloodshed (1Ki 2:5).
To put on a military belt was to prepare for war (2Ki 3:21).
Adam Clarke comments that
The military belt was
the chief ornament of a soldier, and was highly prized in all ancient
nations; it was also a rich present from one chieftain to another.
Jonathan gave his to David, as the highest pledge of his esteem and
perpetual friendship, 1Sa 18:4. And Ajax gave his to Hector, as a token
of the highest respect.—Homer Il. vii., verse 305.
While one needs to be cautious in
concluding too much from this aspect of the covenant ritual, we should
not let that distract us from the truth of that covenant with God
provides a "Partner" who is willing to give us His strength in exchange
for our weakness as discussed below.
(1) ISAIAH 40:31
Premise - With the omnipotent
God as covenant partner, His partners have access to His inexhaustible
Let us begin by looking at a famous
Old Testament passage Isaiah 40:31...
Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and
assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me
escapes the notice of my God"? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The
Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not
become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. 29 He gives
strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30
Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who
wait for the
LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They
will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.
Note that in context Isaiah is addressing Israel, but the
principle taught in verse 31 is applicable to all believers in Christ. The
verb "wait" has the root meaning of twisting a strand of cord and
thus the idea of binding. The OT meaning conveys the idea of waiting
patiently, (and looking) expectantly, (and looking) eagerly. Isaiah is
calling on Israel and believers in general to wait with steadfast endurance
which ultimately is an expression of one's faith or trust in the Covenant
Keeping God. This person endures patiently in confident hope that God will
decisively act and in this context that He will "gain" strength.
"Gain" is Hebrew verb (chalaph)
which literally means to change or to renew.
In Genesis 35:2 Moses writes "change (chalaph)
your garments" Using the clothing motif as we saw in the Exchange of
Robes, the idea is that we are to put off
our weakness and in exchange receive God's strength! The
translates the Hebrew verb
with the Greek verb
allasso (word study)
which means to exchange one thing for another. In sum, we are to
exchange our weakness for His strength, which is implied in Isaiah
where God asks
Isaiah 40:31 teach about what we can expect from our Covenant Partner?
We will gain new strength. There is
an exchange our strength for God's strength. (Read
See in depth notes on Isaiah 40:31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The
Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not
become weary or tired" and then explains that He "gives
strength to the weary and to him who lacks might he increases power." (Listen
to the Song - Do You Not Know?)
What is the result
of this strength exchange?
Mount up with wings like eagles (Septuagint
of "mount up
like eagles" = "they shall put forth new feathers like eagles"),
not get tired, walk and not become weary
What is the condition we need to
Wait for the LORD
"Wait" is the Hebrew verb (qavah)
which means to "hope for", not
with the attitude of "I hope so" but with the idea of
looking for or eagerly expecting God to do good, which clearly
translates into one's trust and confidence in His promise. This
verb invites the trusting reader to look ahead eagerly with
confident expectation and also calls for patience, reminding us
that the fulfillment of hope lies in the future. Are you
waiting or wilting under the burden you are having to
Asaph alludes to
this same principle writing
My flesh and my heart may fail, but
God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Ps 78:26-Note)
ON ISAIAH 40:31
Warren Wiersbe has an
insightful comment on Isaiah 40:31
If we trust ourselves, we will faint
and fall, but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive
strength for the journey. The word "wait" does not suggest that
we sit around and do nothing. It means "to hope," to look to God
for all that we need (Isaiah 26:3; 30:15). This involves meditating on His
character and His promises, praying, and seeking to glorify Him.
The word "renew" means "to
exchange," as taking off old clothing and putting on new. We
exchange our weakness for His power (cf 2Cor 12:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11).
As we wait before Him, God enables us to soar when there is a crisis, to
run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully in the
day-by-day demands of life. It is much harder to walk in the ordinary
pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis.
"I can plod," said William Carey, the
father of modern missions. "That is my only genius. I can persevere in
any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything."
The journey of a thousand miles
begins with one step. The greatest heroes of faith are not always those
who seem to be soaring; often it is they who are patiently plodding. As
we wait on the Lord, He enables us not only to fly higher
and run faster, but also to walk longer. Blessed
are the plodders, for they eventually arrive at their destination!
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
Sir Humphry Davy has a
beautiful description of mounting with wings like eagles writing that...
"I once saw a very interesting sight
above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent eagles were teaching their
offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by
rising from the top of the mountain in the eye of the sun. It was about
mid-day, and bright for the climate. They at first made small circles,
and the young birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting
till they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger
gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their circle of
flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The young ones still
and slowly followed, apparently flying better as they mounted; and they
continued this sublime exercise, always rising till they became mere
points in the air, and the young ones were lost, and afterwards their
parents, to our aching sight."
F B Meyer has a devotional on
Isaiah 40:31 entitled...
CHANGING OUR STRENGTH
"They that wait upon the Lord shall
renew their strength."-- Isaiah 40:31 (context Is 40:28, 29, 30).
IT IS more than probable that these lines will be read by some who have
lost heart. They are fainting beneath the long and arduous strain of
life, and ready to give up in despair. It seems as though God had
forgotten to be gracious, and in anger had shut up His tender mercies.
To all such, Isaiah says: God is not tired: you think He is because you
are. Wait upon the Lord, and change your strength.
The question is not as to altering your environment, but altering your
courage, your power of endurance, your assurance of victory; then,
notwithstanding every hindrance and difficulty, you will mount up on
wings like eagles, you will run without being weary, you will walk
without being faint.
The inevitable order. Mounting up--running--walking! We should have
supposed that it should have been walking in the beginnings of religious
experience; then the walk breaking into the run; and finally the runner
leaping on wings into the azure, like the eagle a black speck against
the blue! But experience confirms the prophetic order. Isaiah is right!
We mount, we run, we walk!
Let us claim the promise--"They that wait on the Lord shall change their
strength." Too often in the past we have depended on the stimulus of
services, sermons, conventions which have made the embers glow again on
the heart's altar. We have gone back to our homes, to our daily calling,
with a new zeal and impulse that has lasted for weeks or months. Then we
have found ourselves flagging again; we have run and got weary; we have
walked and become faint.
To all such comes the word; if you would once more mount up and run and
walk, you must change your strength. Time tells on us! Moods influence
us! Circumstances impede us! Satan blows cold blasts on our heart-fires
and cools them! Sins pile up their debris between us and God! From all
these let us turn once more to Jesus and wait on Him.
"My soul, wait
thou only upon the Lord,
for my expectation is from Him."
Look not back,
Not down, but up!
Not in, but out!
Never to your own heart,
but keep looking to Jesus, made near and living by the grace of the Holy
Spirit. So shall you change your strength, as you wait upon the Lord.
PRAYER Thou knowest, Lord, how often I am sorely let and hindered in
running the race which is set before me (Heb 12:1-note). May Thy bountiful grace and
mercy come to my help, that I may finish my course with joy, and receive
the crown of life. AMEN
(2) 2CORINTHIANS 12:9,10
What did Paul learn after
entreating the Lord to remove the "thorn in his side" three times to no
(2Cor 12:8, 9, 10)? (See
God's grace was sufficient for his
2Cor 12:8 Concerning this I
entreated the Lord three times that it (the "thorn in the flesh, a
messenger from Satan to buffet" Paul, cp Ge 50:20, Ro 8:28) might depart from me. 9 And He
has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for (My) power is perfected
in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my
weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am
well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with
persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak,
then I am strong.
Comment: What Paul is writing
now is from the vantage point of 14 years of having experienced the
sufficiency of God's grace - See
Chronology of Paul -
2Corinthians written about 58AD
- 14 years earlier would be circa
Paul's First Missionary Journey, possibly even the time of his stoning
in Iconium = Acts 14:19. What looks to us as a "thorn in our flesh" at a
moment in time, quite often takes on a different "hue" over time, if we
grow in grace rather than allowing ourselves to become bitter rather
Note the "key word" in the preceding
passage -- What is it? What does Paul mention repeatedly? Have you ever
considered your weakness is the starting point for God's grace and
How do we know
Paul truly trusted ("waited for") his Covenant Partner
I will rather boast about my
weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. I am well content
(think well of) with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with
persecutions, with difficulties (tight situations, no escape), for
When I am weak then I am strong - Paul is
saying that he
exchanged his weakness for Christ's strength!
This "exchange motif" is
seen many times and in many ways in Scripture. One of the most beautiful
pictures is the offer by our Covenant Partner Christ to all of us who are
wearied in the work of this Christian life, tired of fighting against the
intractable, seemingly overpowering enemies of the world, the flesh and the
devil. To all weary workers and warriors, Jesus casts out this eternal
Come to Me, all who are weary and
heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from
Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR
SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light. (Mt 11:28, 29, 20).
What can we do? How do we exchange our
weariness for His strength? We
must come. We must be willing to humble ourselves, to say "I can't" but "You
can and you always said you would." It constitutes a conscious choice of our
will. It calls for a brokenness, a giving up on our so-called natural
"strength" while trying to carry on supernatural work. It calls for a
yielding of our pride, a death to self, a dependence on His Spirit, a trust
in His Word of promise, that Jesus will do what He says He will do for His
covenant partners. Do we really
believe He will give us rest, not just physical rest, but deep soul rest?
If not let us cry out like the
father with the ill son who declared "I do believe; help my unbelief."
(Mk 9:24). And when we practice partaking of these truths in real-time
situations (those "divine pop tests" God either allows or sends), we will
like Paul learn the secret of contentment and find that His grace is
sufficient, enough for our every need. Glory!
12:9, 10 "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in
your weakness." (See in depth commentary on
2Corinthians 12:9; 12:10)
Jesus is saying to Paul and you dear
covenant partner "My grace is enough for you...it will suffice in any
and every weakness, insult, distress, persecution or difficulty you
might encounter." Peter in [see 1 Peter 4:10-note] explains why God's grace is enough
for every situation, every need, every trial, writing that it is ''the
manifold (variegated) grace of God.'' God's grace is variegated so that
whatever "color" trial we are facing, God has a hue of grace perfectly
matched to our need.
Jehovah Jireh: The LORD Will Provide
is His name, the God Who provides.
And may these words of mine, with
which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our
God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the
cause of His people Israel, as each day requires. (1Kings 8:59)
Evil shall pass with the day that brought it,
As the sea is stayed by the barrier land;
When the Giver of Good shall say, "No farther,"
And bid the foeman restrain his hand;
But the grace of the Lord outstays the evil,
Outlasts the darkness, outruns the morn,
Outwatches the stars in their nightly vigil,
And the foe that returns with the day re-born,
As he left it unwearied, shall find it unworn.
Johnson Flint (click for more poems)
What is the lesson we need to learn
(and re-learn)? Is it not to learn to thank God for whatever we are
experiencing. He is
El Elyon: Most High God - Sovereign Over All and whoever dwells in
Him will abide in the shadow of the Almighty, El Shaddai (Psalm 91:1 -note).
And that knowledge is enough for any contingency.
Paul was afflicted with a thorn in the
flesh (whatever that was is not important...it "pricked" him in some way and afflicted
him - note at this time he had been afflicted 14 years, most of his time
in NT ministry! 2Co 12:2 - So how was Paul able to minister so
powerfully for the Lord? Do you think the "thorny experience" had
anything to do with it?) and he asked God to remove it (3x - cp 2Co
12:7, 8) and Jesus told him
'My grace is sufficient for you, for
power is perfected in weakness.' (2Co 12:9-note)
We would not have known this truth if
Paul had not persevered in the midst of the furnace. Praise the Lord.
The Lord more uses our weakness more than our strength: our strength is
often His rival; our weakness, His servant, drawing on His resources,
and showing forth His glory.
Man's extremity is God's opportunity;
Man's security is Satan's opportunity.
God's way is not to take His children
out of, but to give them strength to bear up against trial. The story of
martyr Thomas Hauker (England, 1555) illustrates this principle in the
hour of need. This story is entitled "I Have to Know"
"Thomas", his friend lowered his
voice so as not to be heard by the guard. "I have to ask you a favor. I
need to know if what the others say about the grace of God is true.
Tomorrow, when they burn you at the stake, if the pain is tolerable and
your mind is still at peace, lift your hands above your head. Do it
right before you die. Thomas I HAVE to know." Thomas Hauker whispered to
his friend, "I will." The next morning, Hauker was bound to the stake
and the fire was lit. The fire burned a long time, but Hauker remained
motionless. His skin was burnt to a crisp and his fingers were gone.
Everyone watching supposed he was dead. Suddenly, miraculously, Hauker
lifted his hands, still on fire, over his head. He reached them up to
the living God & then, with great rejoicing, clapped them together three
times. The people there broke into shouts of praise and applause.
Hauker's friend had his answer."
Trouble and the grace to bear
it come in the same package.
Annie Johnson Flint (see
put it this way...
He giveth more grace when the burdens
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. --Flint
F B Meyer in his devotional
Our Daily Homily comments on "When I am weak, then am I strong"
We need not discuss the nature of
Paul’s thorn in the flesh. It is enough that he calls it “a stake,” as
though he had been impaled. It must have, therefore, been very painful.
It must also have been physical, because he could not have prayed thrice
for the removal of a moral taint, and been refused. It came from Satan,
permitted by God, as in the case of Job, to buffet his servant. It is
not unlikely that be suffered from weak eyes, or some distressing form
of ophthalmia; hence the eagerness of the Galatian converts to give him
their eyes (see Galatians 4:15).
God does not take away our thorns,
but He communicates sufficient grace. He always answers prayer, though
not as we expect. Let the music of these tender words soar unto thee,
poor sufferer! “My grace is sufficient even for thee.” Sufficient when
friends forsake, and foes pursue; sufficient to make thee strong against
an infuriated crowd and a tyran nical judge; sufficient for excessive
physical exertion and spiritual conflict; sufficient to enable thee to
do as much work, and even more, than if health and vigour were not
impaired, because the very weakness of our nature is the chosen
condition under which God will manifest the strength of his.
Do not sit down before that mistaken
marriage, that uncongenial business, that physical weakness, as though
thy life must be a failure; but take in large reinforcements of that
Divine grace which is given to the weak and to those who have no might.
It is clear that Paul had reached such a condition, that it was a matter
of deep congratulation to him to be deficient in much that men hold
dear, and to have what most men dread. He rejoiced in all that
diminished creature-might and strengthened his hold on God.
F B Meyer has the following
devotional on 2Cor 12:9 entitled...
GLORYING IN INFIRMITIES!
"My grace is sufficient for thee: for
My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I
rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon
me."-- 2Corinthians 12:9.
THE APOSTLE seems to have enjoyed wonderful revelations of God. Not once
or twice, but often he beheld things that eye hath not seen, and heard
words that ear cannot receive, and God felt it was necessary for him to
have a make-weight lest he should be exalted beyond measure (2Cor 12:7).
What the thorn or stake in the flesh was it is impossible to say with
certainty. He may have suffered from some distressing form of ophthalmia.
We infer this from the eagerness of the Galatian converts to give him
their eyes (Gal 4:13, 14, 15,16, 17), and from his dependence on an amanuensis. His
pain made him very conscious of weakness, and very sensitive of
infirmity, and kept him near to the majority of those to whom he
ministered, who did not live on the mountain heights, but in the
valleys, where demons possess and worry the afflicted. Be willing that
your visions of Paradise should be transient, and turn your back on the
mountain summit, where the glory shines, as our Lord did, in order to
minister to souls in anguish (2Co 12:4; Mt 17:14, 15, 16, 17, 18).
On three separate occasions the Apostle besought the Lord for
deliverance from his infirmity, and finally received the assurance that
though the thorn could not be removed, yet sufficient grace would be
given to enable him to do his life-work, and he was more than content.
On the one hand, there was the buffeting of this messenger of Satan; but
on the other, there were the gains of meekness, humility, and of greater
grace than would have been possible if he had not needed it so
sorely--and he gladly accepted an infirmity for which there were such
Do not sit down baffled by your difficulties and infirmities, but rum
from them to claim Christ's abundant grace and strength, that at the end
of life you may have done all that was set you to do, and more, because
the greatness of your need made you lean more heavily on His infinite
resources. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might
He increaseth strength."
PRAYER: Help us, O Lord, to look on the bright side of things; not on
the dark cloud, but on Thy rainbow of covenant mercy; not on the stormy
waters, but on the face of Jesus; not on what Thou hast taken, or
withheld, but on what Thou hast left. Enable us to realise Thine
(3) PHILIPPIANS 4:11-13
How does Paul explain the exchange of our weakness for Christ's
strength in Php 4:11, 12, 13?
I have learned to be
content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with
humble means and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every
circumstance. I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance
suffering need. I can do all things through Him
Who strengthens me.
on meaning of "strengthen") In short, the confidence to
declare Philippians 4:13 is a learning process. Don't give up...keep on keeping on even though you
stumble... seek to learn the secret... then you too can say "I can do all things...."
(Php 4:11, 12-note,
ON Php 4:13
J Vernon McGee
recommends some caution when interpreting "I can do all things"
When Paul says all things,
does he literally mean all things? Does it mean you can go
outside and jump over your house? Of course not. Paul says, “I can do
all things in Christ”—that is, in the context of the will of Christ
for your life. Whatever Christ has for you to do, He will supply the
power. Whatever gift He gives you, He will give the power to exercise
that gift. A gift is a manifestation of the Spirit of God in the life of
the believer. As long as you function in Christ, you will have
power...Now Paul is not saying that we can do all things. I can't
jump like a grasshopper can jump. When I was in school I was the high
jumper, but I can't jump anymore. You see, I can't do all things, but I
can do all things which God has for me to do from the time
He saved me to the time He will take me out of this world.
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
to Dr McGee's Thru the Bible Commentary on this verse)
Him is literally in
Him (See related study on
in Christ Jesus), a key phrase here and in all of Paul's epistles for it speaks
of the believer's New Covenant union and identification
with Christ, so that even as a branch apart from a vine can bear no
fruit, even so a believer apart from abiding in the "Vine" can do
nothing of lasting import. It is all from Him, through Him and to Him be
the glory. Amen. Because Paul had learned the secret of continually
abiding in Christ, Paul justifiably felt that it was impossible for
life to confront him
with anything that he and the Lord could not handle, no matter how
severe or how favorable!
from en = in + dunamoo = strengthen) (Click
for detailed discussion of
means to enable one to do or experience something.
say it means "to
pour power into one" and thus "Paul had strength so long as Jesus kept
putting His power into him".
is in the
indicating that Christ is continually able to infuse or pour in
the power we need for the need of the moment. If we experience a "power
outage" or "power failure", it is not because of a failure in the Source
but a failure to depend on the Source.
Kenneth Wuest and William Barclay
both translate endunamoo as "infuse" an
excellent rendering for it gives us a word picture. For example,
Webster says that to infuse something is to to cause it to
be permeated with something else (in context of Php 4:13
would be Christ), the infusion resulting in an alteration which is
usually for the better -- this is a good picture of what happens to the
believer who is constantly "infused" with Jesus! Ponder another
definition of infuse as to introduce one thing into
another so as to affect it throughout with the implication that there is
a pouring in of something that gives new life or significance! Let your
life be infused with your the life of your New Covenant partner Jesus!
This "infusion of strength" is based upon the believer's living union
and identification with Christ, our Life.
Galatians 2:20 (see commentary note) brings out the vital
nature of this union for Paul declares
I have been crucified with Christ;
and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life
which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who
loved me and gave Himself up for me.
endunamoo commanding the Ephesian saints to
= continually be empowered via
union with Christ) in the
Lord and in the strength of His might." (Eph 6:10-note)
endunamoo repeatedly in his epistles to Timothy, initially writing
I thank Christ