Grace to You Devotionals

GTY Devotionals

October 22

Fearing God

"The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever" (Ps. 19:9).

Fearing God leads to reverential attitudes and actions.

In the Old Testament, to fear God was to view Him with reverential awe and bow to His sovereign authority. In Psalm 34 David wrote, "Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life, and loves length of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it" (vv. 11- 14). His son Solomon added, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. . . . Fear the Lord and turn away from evil" (Prov. 1:7; 3:7).

The concept of fearing God isn't limited to the Old Testament. Paul said, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12), "Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1) and, "Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ" (Eph. 5:21).

Our fear of God compels us to worship Him and conform our lives to His will. If you fear Him, pleasing Him will be your greatest delight and displeasing Him, your greatest disappointment.

In Psalm 19:9 David uses "fear" as a synonym for God's Word, implying that Scripture is God's manual on how to worship Him. "Clean" (v. 9) is a comprehensive term that speaks of the absence of sin, corruption, filthiness, defilement, imperfection, and error. The message Scripture conveys is always "flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times" (Ps. 12:6, NIV).

Because it is so perfect, Scripture endures forever (Ps. 19:9). That's why Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" (Mark 13:31). It never needs to be updated to accommodate contemporary thinking. It stands forever as authoritative and unyielding. Those who judge it, slander it, or ignore it are in grave peril. Far better to fear God and bow to His revealed will.

Suggestions for Prayer

Read Psalm 33 as a prayer of praise to the Lord.

For Further Study

Memorize Proverbs 3:5-7 as a reminder always to seek God's will and approval.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

October 22

Dead to the Law

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4).

The law can no longer punish those who have died with Christ.

It’s an axiomatic truth that laws don’t apply to dead people. No policeman would issue a ticket to a drunk driver who was killed in an accident. Nor was Lee Harvey Oswald tried for killing President Kennedy, since he himself was killed by Jack Ruby. In Romans 7:2-3 Paul uses marriage to illustrate that truth: “For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man.” Paul’s point is simple: death ends a marriage because the laws regarding marriage don’t apply to the dead.

The same principle holds true in the spiritual realm. Since believers have died with Christ (Rom. 6:3-7), the law can no longer condemn them; it no longer has authority over them. Paul’s use of a passive verb (“were made to die”) indicates that believers don’t make themselves dead to the law; they were made dead to the law through a divine act.

The only provision for paying the penalty the law demands is the Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. To the Corinthians Paul wrote, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). The apostle repeated that truth in Galatians 2:19-20: “For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God. 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 delivered Himself up for me.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that you are no longer under the law’s condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

For Further Study

Read Romans 3:20; 7:12; Galatians 3:24-25. Since the law can’t save anyone, what is its purpose?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

October 22

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 29:1–30:24
  • Psalm 119:41-48
  • Proverbs 27:19
  • 1 Timothy 1:1-20

Notes:

Jeremiah 29:14 I will be found by you. The Lord would answer their prayer by returning the Jews to their land, Daniel’s example and God’s response (Dan. 9:4–27). Fulfillment would occur in the era of Ezra and Nehemiah, and beyond this in even fuller measure after the Second Advent of their Messiah (Dan. 2:35, 45; 7:13, 14, 27; 12:1–3, 13).

Jeremiah 30:7 time of Jacob’s trouble. This period of unprecedented difficulty for Israel, as the verse defines, is set in a context of Israel’s final restoration. It is best equated with the time of tribulation (vv. 8, 9) just before Christ’s Second Advent mentioned elsewhere (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21, 22) and described in detail by Revelation 6–19.

1 Timothy 1:4 fables and endless genealogies. Legends and fanciful stories manufactured from elements of Judaism (v. 7; Titus 1:14), which probably dealt with allegorical or fictitious interpretations of Old Testament genealogical lists. In reality, they were “doctrines of demons” (4:1), posing as God’s truth (4:7).

1 Timothy 1:8 the law is good. The Greek word for “good” can be translated “useful.” The law is good or useful because it reflects God’s holy will and righteous standard (Ps. 19:7; Rom. 7:12) which accomplishes its purpose in showing sinners their sin (Rom. 3:19) and their need for a Savior (Gal. 3:24).The law forces people to recognize that they are guilty of disobeying God’s commands, and it thereby condemns every person and sentences them to hell.

1 Timothy 1:13 because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Paul was neither a Jewish apostate nor a Pharisee who clearly understood Jesus’ teaching and still rejected Him. He was a zealous, fastidious Jew trying to earn his salvation, thus lost and damned. His plea of ignorance was not a claim to innocence nor an excuse denying his guilt. It was simply a statement indicating that he did not understand the truth of Christ’s gospel and was honestly trying to protect his religion. His willing repentance when confronted by Christ is evidence that he had not understood the ramifications of his actions—he truly thought he was doing God a service (Acts 26:9).


DAY 22: Who is Timothy?

Timothy received his name, which means “one who honors God,” from his mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois), devout Jews who became believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 1:5) and taught Timothy the Old Testament Scriptures from his childhood (2 Tim. 3:15). His father was a Greek (Acts 16:1) who may have died before Timothy met Paul.

Timothy was from Lystra (Acts 16:1–3), a city in the Roman province of Galatia (part of modern Turkey). Paul led Timothy to Christ (1:2, 18; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 1:2), undoubtedly during his ministry in Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6–23). When he revisited Lystra on his second missionary journey, Paul chose Timothy to accompany him (Acts 16:1–3). Although Timothy was very young (probably in his late teens or early twenties, since about 15 years later Paul referred to him as a young man; 4:12), he had a reputation for godliness (Acts 16:2). Timothy was to be Paul’s disciple, friend, and co-laborer for the rest of the apostle’s life, ministering with him in Berea (Acts 17:14), Athens (Acts 17:15), Corinth (Acts 18:5; 2 Cor. 1:19), and accompanying him on his trip to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). He was with Paul in his first Roman imprisonment and went to Philippi (2:19–23) after Paul’s release. In addition, Paul frequently mentions Timothy in his epistles. Paul often sent Timothy to churches as his representative (1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10; Phil. 2:19; 1 Thess. 3:2), and 1 Timothy finds him on another assignment, serving as pastor of the church at Ephesus (1:3).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

October 22 - Spiritual Resurrection: Purpose and Power

“‘Those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself’” (John 5:25–26).

Those who experience spiritual resurrection will receive abundant (10:10), everlasting life. But the only ones who “will live” are “those who hear” in the sense of true faith and obedience to the gospel. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus declared, “and I know them, and they follow Me” (10:27). Believers are those who have both the spiritual faculty and duty to respond to divine revelation. In contrast, the lost do not hear Christ’s voice; they are not saved and thus do not understand or obey it (8:43, 47; 12:47; 14:24), and hence will not live spiritually.

The Son can give life (v. 21) because, like the Father, He “has life in Himself.” No one can give to others what he himself lacks; thus no sinful human being can generate for himself eternal life. God alone possesses it, and He grants it through His Son to whomever He wills.

Those who deny His deity twist Jesus’ statement about the Father giving life to the Son into a claim that He was created and thus inferior to the Father. Such is not the case, however. John has already stated in the prologue to his gospel that the Son possessed life in Himself from all eternity (1:4). When He became a man, our Lord voluntarily gave up the independent use of His divine attributes (Phil. 2:6–7). But the Father granted Him the authority to give life (both physical and spiritual) even during the self-limiting condescension of His earthly ministry.

Ask Yourself

What’s the motivation behind those who try to downplay Jesus’ divinity? What are they trying to avoid admitting or dealing with? What would you say to those who claim that doctrines like these are unimportant and nonessential?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz, www.portavoz.com
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