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« Reply #7965 on: April 25, 2023, 07:46:29 AM »

Doxology to the King

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

In this stirring doxology to the One who allowed him into the ministry (vv. 12-13), whose grace “was exceeding abundant” (v. 14), who “came into the world to save sinners” (v. 15), who showed mercy and longsuffering, and who grants “life everlasting” (v. 16), Paul uses several majestic descriptive terms. Each deserves our attention.

The King eternal. God’s sovereign kingship is in view here. The phrase literally translates, the “King of the ages.” “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king” (Jeremiah 10:10). He is the King, and we must stand in submission to Him.

Immortal. The Greek word used here implies more than mere exemption from death. A fuller meaning would include total incorruptibility; i.e., the inability to be stained by either decay or death. What a comfort to realize that the believer’s crown in glory will be likewise incorruptible (1 Corinthians 9:25), as will his resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Invisible. God is a Spirit and as such cannot be seen. He has chosen to appear on numerous occasions, most notably as Christ, but is usually unseen, the primary meaning of the word. Christ “is the image of the invisible [same word] God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15). Seen or unseen, He merits our praise.

The only wise God. God is unique in His existence and wisdom, “God only wise” (Romans 16:27). He stands alone, solitary, apart from all others.

Surely to this eternal, incorruptible, unseen, unique, wise, sovereign King belongs “honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” JDM
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« Reply #7966 on: April 26, 2023, 07:28:29 AM »

Creation and the Sciences

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)

The first chapter of Genesis is the foundational chapter of the Bible and, therefore, of all true science. It is the great creation chapter, outlining the events of that first week of time when “the heavens and the earth were finished, and....God ended his work which he had made” (Genesis 2:1-2). Despite the evolutionists, God is not creating or making anything in the world today (except for special miracles as recorded in Scripture) because all His work was finished in that primeval week. He is now engaged in the work of conserving, or saving, what He first created.

There are only three acts of special creation—that is, creation out of nothing except God’s omnipotent word—recorded in this chapter. His other works were those of “making” or “forming” the created entities into complex, functioning systems.

His first creative act was to call into existence the space/mass/time cosmos. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This is the domain that we now study in the physical sciences. The second is the domain of the life sciences. “God created...every living creature that moveth” (Genesis 1:21). It is significant that the “life” principle required a second act of direct creation. It will thus never be possible to describe living systems solely in terms of physics and chemistry.

The third act of creation was that of the image of God in man and woman. The study of human beings is the realm of the human sciences. Our bodies can be analyzed chemically and our living processes biologically, but human behavior can only really be understood in terms of our relation to God, whose image we share. HMM
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« Reply #7967 on: April 27, 2023, 07:27:36 AM »

Lessons to Learn

“But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13)

The Lord Jesus called all who would be His disciples to “learn of me” (or “from me,” Matthew 11:29), and our text verse contains the first use of “learn” in the New Testament, thus indicating a basic item we must learn when we become Christians.

The Lord stressed that God cared nothing about the ritualistic offering of animal sacrifices, as such, but rather desired understanding of the meaning of those sacrifices, accompanied by the motivating love and faith of a repentant heart. He referred them back to their own Scripture: “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). This is the most difficult but most basic lesson to learn by one seeking forgiveness and salvation.

There are many subsequent lessons to learn, of course; many of them very difficult even for sincere, believing Christians. Paul notes one of them he had learned the hard way: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11). Another difficult but vital lesson has to do with Christian humility in leadership, “that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Corinthians 4:6).

Even the Lord Jesus Christ in His perfect humanity had lessons to learn. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Finally, having learned these and many other such lessons, we must not forget them. Paul, in his final letter, so reminds us: “Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned” (2 Timothy 3:14). HMM
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« Reply #7968 on: April 28, 2023, 08:00:07 AM »

The Unseen Angels

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

God has created “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), and there are many references to them in both Old and New Testaments, but few living men or women have ever actually seen real heavenly angels—or, at least, recognized them as such. We may “have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2), for they can assume the appearance of men on occasion, but normally they are invisible to human eyes.

Nevertheless, they are there! Furthermore, they are “all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). God has given them charge over us—that is, over each believer “that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High” (Psalm 91:1). They “excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20).

Wide is the variety of His commandments with respect to angelic ministry to believers. “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.... They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalms 34:7; 91:12).

Not only physical protection but also guidance and encouragement are angelic ministries. When a believer dies, angels translate his spirit to the Lord’s presence (Luke 16:22; 2 Corinthians 5:8), and we can look forward then to meeting and thanking them personally as we come to understand better all their ministries on our behalf during our lifetimes. They are keenly concerned with our salvation and spiritual progress, “which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). Finally, “when the Son of man shall come in his glory,” He will bring “all the holy angels with him” (Matthew 25:31) as He judges the world. HMM
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« Reply #7969 on: April 29, 2023, 07:38:00 AM »

Song of Praise to the Creator

“Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” (Psalm 33:1-3)

Imagine yourself gathered in ancient days for worship, with stringed instruments tuned and temple choir poised to sing a song of praise. The song’s writer had consulted the scroll of the Pentateuch and read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Then he lifted his writing implement and carefully crafted a beautiful piece of music masterfully portraying Yahweh’s creation of and omnipotence over all things.

Believer, imagine hearing these words sung by our choir and accompanied by professional musicians. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). We mere mortals can’t help but stand in awe of Yahweh. We have no choice but to submit to His divine sovereignty.

Why? Because Yahweh used processes like natural selection and millions and millions of years to create His universe? Because He employed mutations, death, and destruction to craft complexity? Because our God authored “creative engines” like the Big Bang? Of course not! Yahweh directly crafted His creation—“His” word, “He” spoke, “He” commanded—and all of His creation salutes Him!

What should be our response? “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8). Let us sing the Creator’s praise, for “the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (v. 4). CM
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« Reply #7970 on: April 30, 2023, 07:18:06 AM »

The Better Hope

“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Hebrews 7:19)

Men and women have many false hopes in this world, one of which is that they can earn heaven by good works. Even though God’s law is a perfect law, it can never make a person fit for heaven because no one can keep the law perfectly. There is a better hope, however, and that hope is “the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

This “hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15) is indeed a wonderful hope. In addition to the one in our text (“better”), there are three other adjectives in the New Testament relative to our Christian hope.

First, it is called a “good hope.” “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father...hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

Next, it is a “blessed hope.” “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).

Finally, it is a “lively [or living] hope.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

It is true, of course, that our hope is centered on the eternal future, for “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Nevertheless, the proved resurrection of Christ makes it a good hope, a blessed hope, and a living hope. HMM
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« Reply #7971 on: May 01, 2023, 06:29:10 AM »

Strong in Grace

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1)

In the Old Testament, “grace” (used 69 times) is often applied in the sense of personal favors or physical blessings. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). In the New Testament, however, the term (used 156 times) often seems to emphasize God’s personal empowerment or the granting of His unique spiritual favor, as is clear in the wonderful passage Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Once the saving grace has been given, the believer is expected to use that grace with victory in mind—confidence that empowers our spiritual life and witness. We are to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Hence, we are to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10) as we wrestle against the powers of darkness that battle us unceasingly. Although “[we] can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth [us]” (Philippians 4:13), we must remember that those “things” include the entire spectrum of poverty to wealth and from hunger to satisfaction. God’s grace is strong enough to counter every worldly circumstance.

We must remember, however, that even the greatest heroes of the faith endured intense opposition, seasons of pain and privation, and occasionally were tortured to death (Hebrews 11:32-38). God’s strong grace is sufficient. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). HMM III
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« Reply #7972 on: May 02, 2023, 07:46:25 AM »

Prerequisites for Christian Unity

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Churches haven’t changed much in 2,000 years. The call to unity in these verses is as needed now as it has always been. Let us examine the prerequisites for unity found here.

Consolation in Christ: The Greek word translated “consolation” is frequently translated “exhortation,” and that seems appropriate here. The “exhortation in Christ” immediately follows this passage where His beautiful life of humility becomes the exhortation to unity among believers, since disunity ultimately comes from pride (v. 3).

Comfort of love: Comfort could be rendered “encouragement,” implying a tender act of incentive. The agape love that the Holy Spirit produces in the life of a believer produces the incentive to unity. When believers truly love one another in this fashion, unity prevails.

Fellowship of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit makes possible a precious relationship between believers. Through the Spirit’s empowering, our wills can be molded into Christlikeness, enabling us to live in unity with our fellow saints.

Bowels and mercies: In the Western world, the heart is referred to as the seat of our innermost affections, here called “mercies,” or, literally, “compassionate yearnings and actions.” When Christians have tender compassion for one another, divisions cease.

The four prerequisites for unity are then Christlike humility, Spirit-produced agape love, a yielding of the will of each believer to the Spirit, and tenderheartedness toward one another. May God grant that they will know we are Christians by our love. JDM
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« Reply #7973 on: May 03, 2023, 07:51:34 AM »

Action Verbs

“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148:5)

The concept of “fiat creation” is opposed by evolutionists and all who believe in the so-called geologic ages. Nevertheless, this is clearly the teaching of the Word of God, and God was there! Psalm 148 exhorts all the stars to praise the Lord, and then notes that, as soon as God spoke, they “were created.” Similarly, “by the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.... For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9).

It is worth noting that whenever the verbs “create” and “make” are used in reference to God’s work of creation, they are never in the present tense. God is not now creating or making stars or animals or people as theistic evolution requires; at the end of the six-day creation period, in fact, God “rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3).

This is the teaching of the New Testament also. “The worlds [that is, the space/time cosmos, the ‘aeons’] were framed [not ‘are being framed’] by the word of God [not ‘by processes of stellar evolution’], so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear [not ‘out of pre-existing materials,’ as required by theories of chemical and cosmic evolution]” (Hebrews 11:3).

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself confirmed the doctrine of recent creation. “From the beginning of the creation [not, that is, four billion years after the solar system evolved] God made them [Adam and Eve] male and female” (Mark 10:6). Thus, those who believe in the geologic ages are rejecting both the biblical record and the authority of Jesus Christ in order to attain ephemeral acceptance by the ungodly. This is a poor exchange! HMM
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« Reply #7974 on: May 04, 2023, 07:33:49 AM »

The Strength of the Lord

“I will go in the strength of the LORD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” (Psalm 71:16)

Since God the Creator is omnipotent, if we can go in His strength, there would seem to be no limit to what could be accomplished. The book of Psalms, in particular, over and over again testifies that God indeed is our strength. For example, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:1-2).

But how do we appropriate God’s strength, and how is it manifested in our own lives? The answer is not what most would expect. “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm 147:10-11). “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).

Our text itself indicates that going in the strength of the Lord is essentially to “make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” Speaking of God’s righteousness (not ours) in the fear of the Lord and the leading of the Spirit, hoping only in His mercy, manifests the strength of the Lord.

Furthermore, “the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). And, finally, the apostle Paul, who surely exhibited the strength of God in his life as much as anyone ever did, testified that “he said unto me, 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” (2 Corinthians 12:9). His grace and His joy, shining through our own weakness, enable the man “whose strength is in thee” to “go from strength to strength” (Psalm 84:5, 7) in His service. HMM
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« Reply #7975 on: May 05, 2023, 08:27:56 AM »

Results of Religious Compromise

“And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 19:2)

Jehoshaphat was a godly king of Judah who faithfully served the Lord, but he made the tragic mistake of forming an alliance with ungodly king Ahab of Israel in fighting against their common enemy Syria. After all, he reasoned, they were “brothers,” both descended from Abraham, so they could join together in battling the Syrians.

As a result, although God continued to bless Jehoshaphat during his lifetime, this compromise eventually resulted in great tragedy in his family when his son and successor, Jehoram, married Ahab’s wicked daughter Athaliah and then slew all his own brothers, and soon he himself died of a loathsome disease (2 Chronicles 21:4, 6, 19).

The road of compromise eventually ends in a precipice, especially in matters regarding the integrity of God’s Word and His saving gospel. The timeless principle for Christians today is given in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?...or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

This warning and command is at least as greatly needed today as it was in Paul’s day. Spiritual, moral, and religious compromise seem to be endemic in the Christian realm today, in both doctrine and practice, and God would warn us that tragedy is imminent in the generation of our children, if not before.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:17). HMM
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« Reply #7976 on: May 06, 2023, 08:17:26 AM »

Resisting the Devil

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

The first recorded event in Matthew’s gospel after Christ’s baptism is His temptation by Satan in the wilderness after He had fasted for 40 days. This amazing account provides us with several practical lessons.

First, we need to understand that the devil is a real and serious enemy. Consider the fact that he wasn’t afraid to tempt the Lord Jesus Himself. This same devil beguiled Eve, deceived David, and sifted Peter like wheat. The Bible tells us that he is a murderer, a thief, a liar, and a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. But this enemy is also often very subtle, since he can even appear as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

We also learn from this account that in response to Satan, Christ wielded “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The Bible is the chief weapon we must use to resist the devil. Three times Satan attempted to deceive Jesus, and three times his offer was refuted with Scripture as Christ said, “It is written.”

This is why we need to be diligent readers and studiers of the Bible. We can never fight a good fight if we don’t properly wield our chief weapon. We should not only be familiar with its contents, but also have key Scriptures stored in our memories. In fact, one of Satan’s greatest strategies is to distract us from being diligent, regular, daily, prayerful Bible readers.

Thus, we’d do well to follow the two-step formula given in James 4:7—“Submit yourselves therefore to God,” and “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” JPT
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« Reply #7977 on: May 07, 2023, 07:56:43 AM »

When to Pray

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)

There is no set time to pray, for it is always appropriate. Our text tells us to “continue” in prayer, and this is the same word as in Romans 12:12, which urges us to be “instant in” prayer. In fact, the admonition of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is to “pray without ceasing.”

Children should pray, as did little Samuel. When the Lord called him, he could answer: “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10). Young people should pray, as Timothy, who was exhorted by Paul to make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks...for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1). Adult men should pray, as did Paul himself, who could say to the Christians of Philippi that he was “always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy” (Philippians 1:4). Old men should pray, like Simeon, and old women, like Anna, who “served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:25, 36-37). And even dying men should pray, as did Stephen who, as he was being stoned to death, was also “calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

We can pray at dawn like David, who said: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3). In a Philippian prison, “at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25). Daniel “kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed” (Daniel 6:10). There is no time that is not a good time for prayer. One should pray in times of sorrow and also in times of joy, as did Hannah in both circumstances (1 Samuel 1:15; 2:1).

It is a most marvelous privilege that we have through Christ that we are able to speak to the infinite God in prayer and to know that He hears and cares. Therefore, pray! HMM
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« Reply #7978 on: May 08, 2023, 07:36:29 AM »

Things Not Seen

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

The little phrase “things not seen” is used three times in the New Testament, and interestingly enough, these refer to the past, present, and future works of God with respect to the things that are seen.

At the beginning of the “faith chapter” of Hebrews occur these remarkable words: “Now faith is...the evidence of things not seen....Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:1, 3). That is, the material things of this present world were not made of pre-existing materials; they were supernaturally created by the word of the Creator! These things that are now seen provide evidence (or better, the “conviction”) of the things not seen—that is, of God’s creative work completed in the past.

The “processes” that are now seen (as distinct from the “materials”) date especially from the time of the great Flood. The “things not seen as yet” by Noah—that is, the present atmospheric circulation, the present hydrological cycle, the present seasonal changes, and many other key phenomena of the present order—all were instituted in the days of Noah when “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).

Finally, “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for...the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Just as surely as the materials and processes of the present world once were unseen but now are easily seen, so the future eternal world will soon be clearly seen when Christ returns. HMM
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« Reply #7979 on: May 09, 2023, 07:40:22 AM »

This Same Jesus

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

When the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, then later ascended into heaven, His body was immortal, no longer subject to death—yet it was a physical body, capable of being seen and heard and touched, even capable of eating with His disciples. He was clearly recognizable, yet could quickly ascend from Earth to heaven and could pass through a solid wall. As He ascended, two angelic messengers said, “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). He was immeasurably different after His resurrection, yet Peter could also proclaim “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36).

Furthermore, even when He returns and assumes the eternal throne of the universe, He will still be the same. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever:...they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:8, 12).

This was the same Jesus whom John the Baptist identified at the beginning of His earthly ministry. “He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).

In fact, before His baptism, and even before His incarnation, He was the same. “In the beginning was the Word....The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). This same Jesus who lived among men, identified by John the Baptist as the Son of God, and who died on the cross, is the eternal Word by whom all things were made, as well as the resurrected Savior and coming King. Jesus Christ is truly “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” 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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