Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – F

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether who seek to snatch away my life; let those be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

In our last post, the passage emphasized the trials David experienced, a hopeless that was expressed by outward and inward enemies. Multiple iniquities, more than the hairs of his head, and evils surrounding him.

His heart was failing.

As we consider our passage, verse 13 reflects David’s heartfelt desire to see God active and working, delivering his child from all his enemies. David is not asking for mercy in this request, but that the motivating factor to drive God in delivering his child is God’s own pleasure in saving those who call out to Him. Not only is David appealing to God to take pleasure in delivering the saint, but that the Lord would make haste.

I love doing things that please me. I love writing in this blog, and will get up early in the morning in order to be involved with the text and to ask God for direction. I take pleasure in it! I usually (always?) put off things that I take no pleasure in (weeding the garden for example), in order to do that which pleases me. Of course this is a comparison of earth with heaven, yet that which we are pleased to do, we seek to find time to do.

How about God? Do you see God as a God who takes pleasure in delivering His saints? Is the God you worship a God that is reluctant in delivering the saint? Is He One who is distant and would rather not be bothered?

What is it that God takes no pleasure in? What actions does God prefer not to be involved in (I speak as a man)? A quick search of the Word brings a number of verses for my reader to consider.

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.” – Ezekiel 18:32 ESV

in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. – Hebrews 10:6 ESV

but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” – Hebrew 10:38 ESV

After David appeals to God for deliverance, he speaks of the natural outcome of this deliverance as he understood it. Deliverance for David would mean the doom of his enemies.

He speaks of “those” enemies that he was facing, that they be put to shame, disappointed, turned back, brought to dishonor and appalled.

Let’s remember that David is a man of war, that his perspective was that of victory or defeat against his foes. The entire kingdom of Israel existed through military conquest, and for the nation to continue, it’s physical enemies would need to be held back.

Is it so for us as the body of Christ in the church age? Are we dealing with physical enemies, and should we seek their downfall, that they be put to shame?

Consider the contrast of David’s desire for his enemies with the New Testament teaching provided to the saints.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 ESV

Is it fair to deduce from this passage that since we do not wrestle against the physical, that we are also not to enter into adversarial attitudes with those who may appear to be “against” us?

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matthew 5:44 ESV

In my opinion, (which is worth less than two pennies) this is the most challenging single verse in the Bible to live out. I am a naturally pessimistic, argumentative and judgmental fella, and find that an attitude of grace and mercy towards those I meet with during my day to day life is impossible without the continual help from God in thinking and behaving properly, under His direction.

Our outlook on life is to be per the Messiah’s teaching and though we often feel as David felt in this passage, we have a higher calling, a calling that will prioritize love over revenge, of forgiveness over bitterness, of prayer over argumentation.

We have a high calling brothers. Let us remember the challenge, and seek to follow the One who loved us when we were enemies!

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


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #204

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #204
Description
He will come and save you
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 35:4
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
    “Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
    will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
    He will come and save you.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 1:21
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – John 3:16

John 3:16

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Recently I have blogged about conditional security.

During these posts, I have not addressed verses that I used when I defended the “Once Saved Always Saved” (OSAS) teaching.

I suppose it is easy to pick the low hanging fruit of the common conditional security verses to defend this position, but sooner or later I will have to discuss OSAS verses, at least to be honest with myself.

Therefore, I will occasionally post to the blog a verse or passage that seems to support the OSAS position. I say “seems” since I am in the midst of the study of the OSAS passages. I consider it wise to seek to understand the opposing side’s argument without prejudging. I suppose that is why I have had so many adjustments in my thinking in the last 5-10 years.  Come to think of it, adjustments are another way of describing repentance – a changing of the mind.

This verse is pregnant with meaning and offers much to discuss, but I will restrain myself to the topic at hand. A key to this verse I believe, in relation to the topic of security, is the word believe. As far as I can tell, believe is a present tense participle which might be translated as – “the continually believing ones” If this is so, then the idea of entering a salvation contract by signing on the dotted line with single past belief seems to be weak.

Initially Considering Conditional Security

One of the verses that made me initially consider the conditional security topic was also in John 3, where the Master states – You must be born again”

I think I understood Him to say “You must become born again”, but that isn’t what He said. You see, to be something is a present condition. To be an engineer is not to simply begin on a career based on a momentary decision, but a lifetime of decisions based on that first decision. To be born again, although dependent on the initial decision to repent and trust, must be maintained on a lifetime of decisions stemming from the initial commitment.

Security in the Person of Christ

Earlier I mentioned that the tense of believing is a key to the verse in understanding the impact on conditional security. Another item of interest in the verse is the concept of eternal life.

Is eternal life dependent on time? (Remember that God created time and He existed prior to the creation, therefore eternality is outside of the realm of time.)

Why all this metaphysical junk?

Sometimes when I would teach on OSAS, I would make the argument that since eternal life was a gift, and by definition it was eternal/forever, it could not be returned.

But I think I missed the bigger picture. Eternal life is in the person of Christ. (1 John 5:11) If I am in Christ, I enjoy the benefits (and responsibilities) of eternal life. If I intentionally depart from the Living One, I remove myself from the eternal life that is in the Son.

Nowadays I consider eternal life to be the quality of life (in the Son) instead of simply a quantity of life (from the Son).


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #203

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #203
Description
A Refuge-A man shall be a hiding place
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 32:2
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
    a shelter from the storm,
like streams of water in a dry place,
    like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 23:37
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Miracles · Supernatural

Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #5 – Jesus Heals Many Sick at Evening

After my series on the parables, I found I was drawn to look into the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. I have never studies the mighty works of Jesus as a focused effort before and am looking forward to finding nuggets of truth that we can be encouraged by.

I have provided a general introduction, with an opportunity to download two files for your reference in my initial post Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction. I found that the format I used for the parable posts were useful to keep me on track, and will continue to use them for this series, with some minor tweaks. With that said, let’s take a look at

Jesus Heals Many Sick at Evening

Matthew 8:16-17

That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.  This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Mark 1:32-34

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Luke 4:40-41

Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to him, and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

General Observations

Now, in the previous post, we spoke of Jesus performing the miracle of Peter’s mother-in-law being healed, and how the audience was small, and of the closest friends to the Messiah. We made comment that God is God no matter who is watching, and that His purpose in displaying power over sickness is not always for the masses. He sometimes works in quiet.

If the intent of the previous mighty work was to simply heal his disciples mother, the effect seems to be that attention was drawn to Him no matter!

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Two categories of people were brought to Jesus at sundown. The sick and the oppressed/possessed of demons. Although this is not be the first time we have come across in the gospels the existence of demons, this particular instance speaks of “many who were oppressed of demons”.

This audience was massive in relation to previous instances of Jesus’ mighty works. Mark 1:33 speaks of the whole city of Capernaum gathered at the door. Obviously not everyone was sick or demon possessed, but the spectacle of a miracle working Rabbi brought everyone out!

And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Mark 1:33

It is estimated that Capernaum had about 1,500 people residing in the city. The wedding at Cana may have had numerous guests (but few witnesses – see Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus #1 – Jesus Turns Water into Wine), but with this mighty work, many in the audience were intimately affected by the Messiah through His healing ministry.

When did the Lord perform this mighty work?

See https://www.bibletimelines.net/timelines/jesus-ministry

Where did the Lord perform this mighty work?

Check out the download file provided in the introduction to this series. Signs and Mighty Works of Jesus – Introduction

Why did the Lord provide this mighty work?

Matthew provides a reason. The healing ministry of the Lord, during the night of mighty works, was to fulfill prophecy.

This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:17

What prophecy? What prophecy is the apostle directing us to, that Jesus fulfilled on this night of mighty works?

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows – Isaiah 53:4a

For Matthew to assign the night of mighty works performed by the Messiah as to fulfilling this prophecy is totally unexpected. When I read the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, I think crucifixion, not a single night in Capernaum. And yet Matthew associates Isaiah 53:4 with physical healing and casting out demons.

Of course, this Old Testament passage is also applied to the crucifixion by Peter in his second epistle

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 2 Peter 2:24

So, if this prophecy is fulfilled during the night of miracles, how is Matthew wanting us to understand this? May I suggest one intent of Matthew was to inform of how the miracles were performed. The passage Matthew quotes here speaks of Jesus taking our illness and baring our diseases.

Notice that both verbs have the general sense of accepting something from someone, of receiving something from someone, of carrying a burden for someone. It is not my understanding that during this night of miracles, the Lord simply deleted demons and illness. In relation to the demons, the passages speak of them being cast out. The healing of the sick is another matter, if only in my understanding.

At this point I am simply riffing, that is, supposing a thought. Was it that the goodness of God, the life resident in the Messiah, would simply overpower the physical sickness of the “patient”? Or was it that the Lord Himself “exchanged” the sickness with His health? Questions of the curious I suppose. No matter, for in the grand scheme of things, Jesus declared His identification with the Messiah found in Isaiah 53, through this night of mighty works in a little city on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus, healed and casted our demons, from residents of a city that would end up faithless towards Him.

And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. – Mathew 11:23

Why did Jesus chose to heal so many in a city that ultimately would reject Him?

What was the message for the original audience?

For the one receiving the miracle

The message was that Jesus was a miracle working rabbi, that healing and casting out of demons was not beyond this One who travelled the area. Each of the recipients of a healing, would have an experience, face to face with the Messiah, an experience that should have drawn them to the Messiah, caused them to have a desire to know His message, to know Him. And yet, I can’t get away from the fact that this city ended up in greater danger of judgement than Sodom and Gomorrah.

For the Jewish leadership

None of the passages speak of the Jewish leadership, but as we will find out as we venture through these mighty works, Jesus’ displays of power over nature were not welcomed by the rulers.

For the disciples

The message for the disciples is not explicitly referred to in the passages, yet I can’t help to assume that this extended concentrated healing ministry of the Lord would have caused more questions than answers.

When will He stop? Why is He taking in so many? How can He do this? Will this healing ministry eventually heal everyone? Is Jesus going to reign over a nation of completely healthy people? (Will doctors be put out of work?)

What is the message for us today?

Hind sight is 20/20. As we watch the Messiah walk His ministry, we find that the miracles were intended to reveal His person, the God-man. Physical healing and the casting out of demons during the Master’s time of earth primarily were works that revealed His arrival, of the Kingdom of God arriving, and that the Greater King David was on the scene.

Can we as believers, by faith, demand healings of multitudes? Will not mass healings exhibit His personhood even today? Of course , this is not the history of the body of Christ. Healings may occur, (through the mercy of God), yet it is often in sickness and grief we sense God’s loving care, and realize that no matter how God deals with us, He is good, He is able and He is wise.

Some may teach that healings of this nature are the natural outcome of being a believer, that is, we also have authority over sickness. This seems to be emphasized in the “ministries” of faith healers, touting their message to the weak and infirmed. Personally, I believe many of the current “healing ministries” I have looked into reek of greed and avarice, and bring much disgrace to the body of Christ

Have you a ministry of healing? Have you, through prayer and fasting, brought health to the sick, or casted out a demon? I would appreciate if you tell your story in the comments below. Although I struggle with healing ministries, I am open to being corrected, through your personal story and the witness of the Word of God.

Thanks again for joining me as we venture through Jesus Mighty Works!

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #202

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #202
Description
The wise are confounded by the Word
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 29:14
therefore, behold, I will again
    do wonderful things with this people,
    with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
    and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.
New Testament Fullfillment
1 Cor 1:18-31
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,

but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,

so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Joy · New Testament · Philippians · Unity

Philippian Bits – 1:2

For this series in Philippians, I am going to limit each post to one verse, and hopefully produce a short, succinct read for my friends who follow.

1:2   Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As mentioned earlier, Paul is writing to a church that has planted itself into his own heart, and that he wants to establish in grace and peace. Throughout Paul’s writings, he emphasizes grace and peace to the churches, (and adds mercy when writing to preachers like Timothy and Titus)

Paul’s emphasis on grace and peace would do us well to be remembered, for we may often think of how we disappoint, frustrate or displease the Lord of Glory, while all the time, the grace of God is there to encourage, strengthen and admonish us to be His people, and do better things for Him.

Grace and peace. Grace is unmerited favor, favor of the Lord that we do not deserve, that we cannot earn, and that is dependent on the character of Jesus and not own frail efforts.

I often consider peace to be somewhat equivalent with wholeness, or balance, or restfulness. A sense that God is taking care of those things that are beyond our strength. As we get older and hopefully wiser, we begin to realize that our strength is a weakness, and that God has been in the midst of it all. With this realization, the peace we experience becomes a settled condition.


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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 40 – E

Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart. This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 40

11 As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.

In our earlier passage, David declared his “nots”. Just as a reminder, let’s review them

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness

David is confident that the Lord will not restrain His mercy from him. I find it somewhat interesting that the prophet used the same negative terminology for both the Lord and his own actions, that is, that restraint was not carried out.

Restraint implies a restriction, an unwillingness, a loss of freedom, inhibition. Both David and the Lord are free to exercise their respective actions. David has freedom to share the goodness of God. The Father is free to exercise mercy in David’s experience.

But that brings up a question for my readers.

  • Is David linking his freedom to share with the congregation, with God finally able to exercise mercy to him?
  • In other words, is the Lord free to exercise mercy in every and all circumstances? Or is He restricted upon our actions?

Comment below with your thoughts.

Let’s continue. David proceeds into verse 12 with a litany of overwhelming perils. Let’s look them one at a time.

Wickedness surrounding me

David confessed he had enemies all about. Friends, acquaintances or sworn enemies, he realized wickedness was prevalent outside of his own person. We know of this trial in our own lives, as we realize that many in our lives may would seek to take advantage of us, harm us or at the least sideline us to make us of no effect.

Iniquities within me

David was realizing that external forces were not his only problem.

If he lived in a utopian kingdom, where all was love and kindness, no wickedness or evil intent possible, He would still have an enemy. As Pogo, a cartoon character of 50 years ago quipped, “We have met the enemy and he is us”

David realized his own inner wickedness, selfishness, self deceit and weakness. This I find to be the hardest truth for the average Christian to accept (it is for me!) and the most difficult to discuss. We tend to exaggerate either extreme. Some may state that sin is not resident in their lives, thereby experiencing spiritual perfection. I don’t meet many believers of this doctrinal stance, that is sinless perfection, yet I fear there are many that believe they may have attained to it without verbally expressing it!

The other extreme is complete and utter evil only lurking in the heart of man. This seems to have much Scriptural backing, and my calvinist brothers would claim it is the reason for their gospel message. (Without this key lynch pin holding their theology together, the logical system they have built crashes to the ground).

Although I spent decades in this thinking, I have come to understand that wickedness resides in me alongside a desire to know God, a desire to seek him and know him. As an experiential knowledge of my own heart, I understand that my own witness is not to be trusted. Therefore, I would appreciate my readers to comment on this topic – the heart of man and it’s condition.

It is instructive though, that David states “my iniquities have overtaken me.” He does not say that his entire being is only sinful, iniquitous, evil, hateful and dastardly. Of course I am being extreme here, but I hope you get my point. (I have always wanted to use the word dastardly in my blog – now I have!)

No vision to guide me out

David claims blindness. He cannot see. Of course we are not to take this literally. He is speaking of his trials, his situation. He is looking for a way out, but with external and internal enemies, there is no escape, no where to run for safety. His back is up against a wall, and he is realizing the wall is also a foe.

Nope, As my momma used to say “He is up the crik without a paddle stick!”

Sins uncountable

How many hair reside on your head? Innumerable, uncountable. Why count them when there are so many. This is the sense I get as David describes his sins to God. It is hopeless!

As we have mentioned in our blog earlier, the Hebrew poets would repeat a thought in the next stansa, using this devise to explain or amplify the previous thought. David is dwelling on his internal iniquities when speaking of the innumerable sins he is recounting.

No strength

His heart fails. No hope, no escape, no relief, no release, nothing that would give encouragement for the future. That is, if we did not have the foundation of God’s promise in the verse above.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

The foundation of God’s mercy, steadfast love and faithfulness is what David finds hope in. He will venture into this great hope in our next blog, dealing with verses 13 – 15.

I hope you can join me as a hopeless situation finds light shone on it! And hopefully, we can see our own situations in like manner, where the Lord Jesus will bring light to our situation and provide deliverance and help in time of need.

Thanks for joining me in this venture through the Psalms. I rarely express my gratitude for your attention to my ruminations. Thanks again, and I look forward to your comments.

May God bless you and keep you in His love.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #201

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #201
Description
He indicated hypocritical obedience to His Word
Old Testament Prophecy
 Isaiah 29:13
And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men,
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 15:7-9
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

“‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Bible · Christian Security · Conditional Security · Doctrinal · Interpretation · OSAS

Conditional Security – 2 Timothy 2:8-13

2 Timothy 2:8-13

8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel,

9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!

10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself.

The security of the believer is a topic I seem to find popping up in daily conversations with other believers. I have spent the greater part of my Christian life teaching and defending the eternal security of the believer, (sometimes called the “once saved always saved” teaching), but after considering some of the “difficult verses” in the Word, I think I have to reconsider this position.

Conditional Security

One passage that has “difficult verses” that needs consideration is 2 Timothy 2:8-13.  And wouldn’t you know it, but we were in Sunday School a while back and the topic of eternal security popped up again.  We began to look at 2 Timothy 2:8-13, and the context was security, suffering, denial and commitment.

Verse 10 speaks of the elect, out of which they may obtain the salvation…

Notice that Paul says that he endures all things for the elects sake, that they may obtain the salvation.  I do not think this is the same as ….for the elects sake, that they shall obtain the salvation…

In my thinking this allows for two interpretations.

  1. Out of the group of elect, a subgroup of those who actually obtain salvation exists, based on the choices made by those within the group of the elect. This implies that there are some of the elect that never obtain salvation.If there are some in the elect that never obtain salvation, why are they called the elect? I suppose the simplest explanation would be that Paul is referring to the nation of Israel as the elect, but this isn’t a very satisfying explanation. I don’t see him mentioning Israel within the letter and he is speaking to a gentile convert concerning a gentile church.
  2. Out of the group of the elect there are some that do not remain in the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. The context seems to lean, in my opinion, towards this interpretation. Paul’s immediate context is endurance. Paul is speaking of suffering, commitment and denial within the Christian church, and specifically to Timothy, a Christian. He reminds Timothy, in verse 12, of the faithful saying, if we endure, we shall also reign with him: if we shall deny him, he also will deny us.

A fine Christian man within the Sunday School class made a valiant effort at defending the eternal security position.  Even after class, we chatted about the benefits of open discussion between believers, and we assured each other that Christianity needs to allow for this openness.

As an adherent of eternal security, I use to struggle to explain this verse.  I no longer am so sure of the eternal security teaching and as I open myself up to the possibility that our salvation is conditional, I find that throughout the Word, choices made by believers have had eternal consequences.

Let me know what you think.  I am hopeful that your comments and questions will stir up some good discussion!


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