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« Reply #6630 on: September 11, 2019, 08:44:59 AM »

Great Is the Lord

“For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.” (1 Chronicles 16:25-26)

This testimony is in the heart of a great hymn of thanksgiving (1 Chronicles 16:7-36) composed by David when the Ark of the Lord was brought back to Jerusalem. It is a testimony of the unique greatness of the God of Israel, with recurring expressions of gratitude for His deliverances and blessings.

This God of Israel was no mere tribal-god or nature-god, such as Dagon, the fish-god of the Philistines from whose hands the Ark had been delivered. All such “gods” of the peoples of the earth—whether wooden images in a shrine, astrological emblems in the heavens, or mental constructs of evolutionary humanistic philosophers—are nothing but idols (that is, literally, “good for nothing,” “vanities”).

It is Jehovah God who is not only in the heavens but who made the heavens! It is their Creator who one day will “let the sea roar” and “the fields rejoice,” when “the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth” (vv. 32-33).

As Creator and Savior, all His people are exhorted also to “shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations” (vv. 23-24). Because of His power, the world itself “shall be stable [that is, ‘permanently established’], that it be not moved” (v. 30). This “God of our salvation” (v. 35), and the wonderful heavens and earth He created, will be forever. The psalm ends with the exhortation: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. . . . Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever” (vv. 34-36).

Now, if Israel needed such an exhortation, our modern science-worshiping world needs it still more urgently. HMM
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« Reply #6631 on: September 12, 2019, 08:48:30 AM »

Wait on the Lord

“Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalm 37:34)

In spite of the occasional successes of the wicked, we are to “wait on the LORD.” The Hebrew word used in this passage for “wait” is unusual. The term quvah describes the “binding together” of strings to make a cord. The same word was used to “collect” the water and dry land into separate areas on the third day of creation.

It carries the idea of anticipation toward useful results and does not mean to “hang around and wait.” It does not imply useless boredom, waiting for something to happen. The essence of the term is to be alert, watching the events and activities of the Lord and reacting to His timing and direction. Indeed, the word is translated “look” as often as any other term.

The great promise of “eagle’s wings” recorded by Isaiah tells us that the source of our victory comes from the Lord alone: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

That great promise, which is a comfort to so many, is based on the fact that the “Creator of the ends of the earth” is the One making the promise (Isaiah 40:28).

As Psalm 37 comes to a close, the summary contains both instructions and blessings: “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But . . . the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD; he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him” (Psalm 37:37-40). HMM III
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« Reply #6632 on: September 13, 2019, 09:21:16 AM »

The Point of No Return

“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” (Hosea 4:17)

Our God is longsuffering and full of mercy, but there is a line that must not be crossed. It is dangerous to presume that God will always continue to forgive; He can become a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

The leaders of Ephraim (a collective term for the 10 northern tribes of Israel) had passed this point of no return. They had become completely infatuated with the pantheistic polytheism of the nations, being “joined” to their symbolic models of natural forces and all the immoral practices that accompanied such nature worship. The word for “joined” means “fascinated by.” They had been brought so deeply under the occult powers behind these nature-god idols as to be irrevocably committed to them, so that it would be a waste of time and tears to try to reclaim them now.

The Scriptures contain many similar warnings. “My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3). “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14). “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it” (1 John 5:16). “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). Pharaoh repeatedly “hardened his heart” against God, and finally God Himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart (e.g., Exodus 8:15; 10:27). “God gave them up” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).

These should be sobering words to anyone who is becoming enchanted with evolutionism, or occultism, or any form of pantheistic humanism. As long as such a person has any qualm of conscience, or even any doubts about the pseudo-scientific philosophy to which he is becoming addicted, there is hope that he might yet turn to the true God of creation. To continue in his present course, however, is presumptuous and deadly. The time will come, perhaps sooner than he thinks, when God will say: “Let him alone.” HMM
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« Reply #6633 on: September 14, 2019, 09:01:45 AM »

The Sun

“Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psalm 19:5-6)

This well-loved psalm provides us a glimpse of God’s creative majesty: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (vv. 1-2).

Modern science has shown that the universe in which we live is really a tri-universe—a continuum of space/time/energy (or information). Thus, the first two verses of this psalm, by focusing our attention on “the heavens . . . the firmament” (space), “day . . . night” (time), and “speech . . . knowledge” (information/energy), reveal a scientific truth long before its “scientific” discovery.

There is, of course, one created source of energy that typifies this energy. Speaking of space and time, the psalmist claims, “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (v. 4), which is further described in our text verses. The sun is like a bridegroom, fully dressed in wedding garb, radiating joy as he comes forth. It is also like a champion runner, fully able to run the race and gain the victory.

The sun’s energy, radiating out in all directions, not only energizes the earth but the entire solar system as well. Furthermore, it is now known that the sun traverses the galaxy in a gigantic orbit with its energy bathing each part. Truly, “there is nothing hid from the heat thereof” (text verse).

Only the Creator of space, time, and energy—the Creator of the sun, the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe—could have known these things. That Creator, through the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit, is the author of this psalm. JDM
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« Reply #6634 on: September 15, 2019, 08:50:22 AM »

Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him

“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:15)

We possess a special place in God’s heart. Many uplifting hymns have been written over the centuries that can lead us into a deeper love for and greater understanding of our Savior. One such hymn, “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him,” introduces many important concepts and reasons to praise.

Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

Those who know the Savior are bidden to join together in praising Him. As Christians, we not only “know” Him as Savior, He calls us His friends. He identifies His friends by their obedience to His loving commands: “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). He proves His friendship through His own sacrifice: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13). How could we ever repay Him? We cannot.

We can, however, praise Him for all that He is to us and has done for us. We have the privilege of declaring “with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell[ing] of all thy wondrous works” (Psalm 26:7), and “speak[ing] of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works” (Psalm 145:5). “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15). JDM
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« Reply #6635 on: September 16, 2019, 08:42:24 AM »

The Name That Charms Us

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)

The second verse of the sweet hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him” continues with reasons to praise Him.

Jesus is the Name that charms us,
He for conflicts fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
When we trust in Him.

We are informed in Scripture that He assigns great value and power to His Name. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9-10).

He protects and empowers us to do great things in service to Him. “But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head” (Psalm 3:3). “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4).

In His service and following His lead, we are victorious. “O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory” (Psalm 98:1). “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

He is not only the conquering general, He is the Creator as well. We put our trust in Him, for where could our trust be better placed? “Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11). JDM
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« Reply #6636 on: September 17, 2019, 09:20:34 AM »

Trust in Him

“That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)

As children of God, we possess everything we need, from an invincible refuge from the enemy to a certain hope for eternity with our heavenly Father. The third verse of the hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him” reminds us that our trust in Him is well placed.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever;
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Trust in something or someone would be worth much less if the object of our trust might change his mind. Thankfully, our Savior never changes. His love for us is constant. “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11). As long as we are with Him, we are safe and secure.

Consider that we are safe in Christ’s hand, as He is secure in the Father’s hand. All believers are further sealed by the Holy Spirit. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). Who or what could break such a bond?

We have no need to fear. We are safe and secure in Him. JDM
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« Reply #6637 on: September 18, 2019, 09:38:42 AM »

The Joy That Is Promised

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Joshua 22:5)

The fourth verse of the hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him” reminds us of our responsibility to be faithful to our calling. At our new birth we were fully granted eternal life, a standing we have now, and eternal life is not temporary. Yet we must strive to prove our love by obedience and holiness, and maintain the sweet relationship with God.

Keep us, Lord, O, keep us cleaving
To Thyself and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.

While He doesn’t need our help in accomplishing His will, we are granted the privilege of serving Him. And we must never come to the place of unbelief. Doubts sometimes come, placed there by the Tempter, but they should drive us to further study, deeper growth, and the eventual resolution of doubt. Doubt must never be allowed to fester into disbelief.

There will come the day when our belief is complete, as faith passes into sight. Unknowable joy will be ours, He promises: “God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:3-5). JDM
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« Reply #6638 on: September 19, 2019, 10:03:20 AM »

Then, Oh Then

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2)

The hymn “Praise the Savior, Ye Who Know Him” was written in the more formal early 1800s, yet it has an almost whimsical approach to its clever rhymes and cadence. A delight to sing, one might at first think it somewhat trivial, but a more careful look finds many rich insights into doctrinal truth. The final verse reflects the promise that one day “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be;
Things which are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.

We can scarcely imagine the joys in store for us in Glory. The apostle Paul had similar difficulty, yet he prayed that we might “be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

As we anticipate what is to come, we can rest in the certain knowledge that all is secure, for He has promised this. Ephesians concludes with this benediction: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). JDM
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« Reply #6639 on: September 20, 2019, 09:23:00 AM »

Scripture and the Christian Life

“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:7-9)

Most Christians spend little time in the Word of the Lord, and this is a great tragedy. It is the necessary food for health and joy in our spiritual lives. “The sincere milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2) is for “newborn babes” and the “strong meat” is for those who are not “unskilful in the word of righteousness” (Hebrews 5:12-13). “Thy words” are also “honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103), and “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD” is the very bread by which “doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Not only are the Scriptures basic in salvation (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 1:23) but also in sanctification and cleansing day by day: “That he might sanctify and cleanse [the church] with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

The Scriptures also provide daily guidance for those who will use their directions: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Every Christian must be a seed-sowing witness for Christ, and “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). In the Christian’s armor, the sole offensive weapon is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17), and this means a victorious life and testimony for the Christian who uses it.

The wonderful testimony of David in our text is the Old Testament equivalent of the great assertion by Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” HMM
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« Reply #6640 on: September 21, 2019, 09:52:27 AM »

This Work Was of God

“So the wall was finished. . . . And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.” (Nehemiah 6:15-16)

There have been so many occasions throughout history when God worked mightily either to establish or to preserve America; there can be no doubt that God has uniquely blessed this country. There have always been those who would destroy, establish themselves as dictators, or who have scoffed at or hindered the American experiment in freedom, but in His grace and in His time and way, He has responded with victory.

Similarly, there were many times in the history of God’s chosen nation of Israel when mighty victories were accomplished. In the events surrounding our text, a ragged band of exiles had returned from captivity in Babylon and were attempting to rebuild the broken-down walls of Jerusalem. The detractors were many, saying it couldn’t be done—but it had to be done!

Satanically inspired opposition came through ridicule (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:1-3); threats of invasion (vv. 7-9); discouragement (v. 10); fear of attack (vv. 11-23); internal friction (5:1-5); diplomatic treachery (6:1-8); and lying prophets (6:10-14). But in the face of each threat, Nehemiah was equal to the task. “We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night” (4:9), and eventually, as we read in our text, “the wall was finished.”

Nehemiah’s victory was preceded by his confession of his own sins and that of the people (1:6-11), and the purification and dedication of the people. It was followed by great rejoicing and blessing. Would that America’s present leaders and people would follow this godly example. JDM
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« Reply #6641 on: September 22, 2019, 09:38:42 AM »

Ready and Able

“That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

The word “perfect” in this verse is artios, and it is used only this one time in the Bible. Its basic meaning seems to be “fitted,” or “fresh.” Then, the words “thoroughly furnished” are one word, exartizo, in the original, which—interestingly enough—is essentially this same rare word (artios) with the prefix ex (meaning “out of”) added. It is only used one other time, where it is translated “accomplished” (Acts 21:5).

Putting these concepts together, Paul seems to be saying that the “man of God” is not necessarily a man who is sinlessly perfect but one who is both fresh (ready to meet present needs) and fully equipped (able to meet present needs).

And, of course, it is significant that this splendid testimony to what a man of God can be—and should be—follows immediately upon Paul’s grand testimony to the inspiration and power of the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures, first of all, “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Then, they are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (v. 16).

“Doctrine,” more specifically, is teaching. “Reproof” is evidence or conviction. “Correction” is a word used only this one time, and it means setting straight. “Instruction” is chastening. Then, the end result of the perfect teachings, the convicting evidences, the correcting influences, and the chastening cleansing of the Holy Scriptures is to produce men and women of God who are both ready and able to meet the critical needs of the times in which they live.

By the same token, the large numbers of nominal Christians who do not diligently study, obey, and apply the Holy Scriptures in their lives are not either ready or able to face the awful challenges (vv. 1-14) of these last days. HMM
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« Reply #6642 on: September 23, 2019, 08:28:20 AM »

Beware of False Teachers

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” (2 Peter 3:17)

Peter’s final epistle, especially chapters 2 and 3, is the classic New Testament passage on the false teachers that would plague the church in the “last days” (v. 3). In addition to the characteristics listed in the introductory verse, 2:1 (e.g., slipping in surreptitiously heretical teachings, denying the redemptive work and Lordship of Christ), a number of their attributes are predicted for our guidance, as follows:

They will “wrest the scriptures” (3:16), distorting their literal meaning to conform to their own philosophical preferences. This involves using “feigned words” (2:3)—that is, plastic words, with devious meanings to make them say what their users wish to convey. They may well be very eloquent and seductive in their speech, “when they speak great swelling words of vanity” (2:18).

They will deny the doctrine of special creation and the judgment of the worldwide Flood (3:5-6), teaching instead that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (v. 4), and will scoff at the Second Coming. They “despise government” and are “presumptuous” and “selfwilled . . . not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2:10).

They both practice and defend immoral acts, “having eyes full of adultery” (v. 14). Yet they maintain their religious ties because they have hearts “exercised with covetous practices” (v. 14), seeing nothing evil in taking money for personal gain from those whose faith they seek to undermine.

This is, indeed, a fitting description of many modern liberal theologians, religious bureaucrats in the big denominations, “New Age” preachers, college teachers of religion, etc. Although this is not a pleasant subject, Christians urgently need to awaken to what is happening and “beware”! HMM
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« Reply #6643 on: September 24, 2019, 08:44:04 AM »

Jesus and Jonah

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

The Bible’s most famous “fish story” has been the target of skeptics for hundreds of years, but it was confirmed by none other than the one who Himself had prepared the great fish: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

Jonah may actually have died and gone to “hell.” “Out of the belly of hell [Hebrew Sheol] cried I,” said Jonah, “and thou heardest my voice” (Jonah 2:2). The testimony of Jesus was similar: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [i.e., Sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10; also Acts 2:27). Jonah also prayed: “Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God” (Jonah 2:6). His prayer ended: “Salvation is of the LORD” (v. 9), and this is the very meaning of the name “Jesus.”

Thus, 900 years before Christ died and rose again, Jonah died and rose again, a remarkable prophetic type of the mighty miracle that the Lord would accomplish one day to bring salvation and life to a world dead in sin. Only the power of God could direct a prepared fish to save Jonah, then three days later allow him to preach repentance and salvation to the lost souls in Nineveh. Then, finally God Himself, in Christ, died on a cross for the sins of the world, and this time it took the infinite power that created the very universe itself to bring His own soul back from hell and, three days later, to rise again. This is “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead” (Ephesians 1:19-20). Truly, “a greater than Jonas is here” (Matthew 12:41). HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #6644 on: September 25, 2019, 09:22:58 AM »

The Power of the Comforter

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7)

The privilege of declaring the gospel to the unsaved becomes a delightful use of the “power of God” (Romans 1:16), speaking the words of God to a heart that has been prepared by the trifold ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will “reprove the world” (John 16:8) of the following things.

“Of sin because they believe not on me” (v. 9). All sin of every person has been forgiven (1 John 2:2). The only sin that irrevocably condemns is unbelief (John 3:19), or more accurately stated, conscious rebellion against the ministry of the Holy Spirit as He convinces men of their need for salvation through Christ. Rejecting that message is “blasphemy” and is unforgivable (Matthew 12:31).

“Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (John 16:10). Now that the Lord Jesus has gone up to heaven, there is “none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10) visible on Earth—including you and me. The Holy Spirit must convince men that righteousness does exist. Otherwise, there would be no possibility of understanding why we need to be saved.

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:11). Some have suggested that the “prince” is Satan. I think not. There is no need to convince us that evil Lucifer needs to be condemned. However, that the sinless Son of God was condemned on Calvary for your sin and mine, now that needs supernatural convincing. HMM III
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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