Posts tagged #Epistle

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Remain in Christ by the Holy Spirit [1]

1 John 2:26-27: I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. [2]

 Regrettably, some Christian can act as if they do not need instruction or guidance. 1 John 2:26-27 states the opposite. Contextually, John tells true believers to ignore heresy because the Holy Spirit grows true believers (not new and unbiblical teaching). [3] John’s instruction helps us see that the Christ—given gift of the Holy Spirit makes all Christians, congregants and pastors alike, stand on equal footing because they all learn with the Holy Spirit’s aid. [4] The central message is “in the last three words,” calling us to “abide in [Christ].” [5] When we “remain” in Christ’s teaching, found in Scripture, by the Holy Spirit’s power we persevere in the Trinity’s providence, growing in knowledge and godliness. [6]

 Saying one prayer is not enough. Occasional church attendance is insufficient. Rarely reading the Bible is inadequate. Christians need to hear Christ-centered, biblically faithful preaching and teaching. [7] Certainly, life circumstances affect church participation and devotional life. But believers miss opportunities to mature in Christ-likeness and make themselves easy prey for deception when devoutness is absent. [8] Yes, salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, according to Scripture alone. [9] But how healthy can faith be when we minimize growth? May the Holy Spirit empower His elect to grow in the Triune God’s ways, as He has promised. [10]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 286. Kistemaker uses “remain,” rather than the ESV’s “abide,” hence my citing of him here.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[3] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.

[4] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285-286.

[5] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[6] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 286.

[7] Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 285.-286.

[8] 1 Peter 5:8-9.

[9] Galatians 2:11-21.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:25-25: Abide in Truth and Happiness

1 John 2:24-25: Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. [1]

 Based on the title, you might be cringing in fear that this is about to be a health and wealth devotional. But John’s message does not allow us to go that route. In fact, John’s message is much better than self-confidence, self-approval, and self-sufficiency. These verses remind Christians of the joys they will have from remaining faithful to the Gospel John taught them by the power of the Holy Spirit. [2] By continuing in a biblical understanding of the Gospel, believers have fellowship with the Triune God and enjoy “real happiness.” [3] This “real happiness” is not infatuation with whimsical desires, but rests on the tested, true, and tried Word of God that can weather any storm. [4]

 This is why good doctrine is so important. [5] When we are careless in understanding Scripture and get quickly attached to truths that seem biblical without examining them we rob ourselves of real happiness. [6] Are you struggling to understand the difficulties in your life? Are you itching for doctrines that promote yourself rather than the Gospel? Examine what you believe against the Bible so that lasting happiness can be yours. This happiness may not make you feel the way you think you should feel, but will free you from deception. Will you abide in truth and happiness that comes from God’s Word, pointing to Christ’s redemptive work on every page, or will lies consume you?


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2018), Logos Bible Software, 198-199.

[3] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 199.

[4] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198-199. See also Timothy Keller’s “Our Identity: The Christian Alternative to Late Modernity's Story” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehw87PqTwKw.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart.png

1 John 2:22-23: “Truly God and Truly Man” [1]

1 John 2:22-23: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. [2]

 Throughout church history many people have denied Christ’s deity and/or humanity. [3] Even today, Mormonism claims that Jesus was once a man who became a god and we can become gods ourselves. [4] Other modern examples abound. What happens if we waver on the incarnate Christ’s being truly God and truly man? We worship a god who cannot save because he is powerless and cannot represent us. [5] John also teaches that we cannot know God the Father if we do not understand His revelation to us in His Son. [6] Loose/misguided Christology leads to eternal damnation, misunderstanding God, and creates lies. [7]

 Do you grasp how serious this is? These are not arbitrary opinions founded on subjective desires. This is eternal life or death. [8] This is the Gospel: how the eternal Son of God became man so His elect could be saved, sanctified, restored. [9] If you are a Christian, are you careful in articulating Christ so that you are presenting Him faithfully as much as possible? [10] If you are a non-Christian: do not be deceived by the many antichrists and lies about Jesus. [11] The LORD Jesus is the risen, incarnate, exalted Son of God Who saves sinners. Put your faith in Him, and you will be saved. [12]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] Stephen Nichols. “The Humanity of Jesus: The Ligoner Statement on Christology.” www.Ligoner.org. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.ligonier.org/blog/the-humanity-of-jesus-the-ligonier-statement-on-christology/.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 195.

[4] Jeff Durbin. “The Gospel for Mormons.” Youtube.com. Accessed 1 August 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQNObk2qAwo.

[5] Carl Trueman. “Tertullian.” (Lecture: Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, October 8, 2015).

[6] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 197.

[7] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 198.

[8] John 14:6; Acts 4:14.

[9] John 1:1, 3:16; Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-4, 1 John 3:1-10; etc.

[10] Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 195.

[11] Matthew 7:15-20; Romans 16:17-18; Ephesians 5:6-13; Galatians 6:1-10; 1 John 4:1-6.

[12] Ephesians 2:1-10.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 John 2:20-21: Christ’s Anointing

1 John 2: 20-21: But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. [1]

 After mentioning the antichrists who have left Christianity by denying Christ’s identity as God and Savior, John reminds believers of their God-given ability to detect deception. [2] Christians are able to tell truth from lies about the Gospel because God the Father through God the Son has anointed His elect. [3] This anointing is God the Holy Spirit abiding with God’s children because of “the Holy One[’s],” Jesus’, perfect work. [4] Because of the Holy Spirit’s presence with believers, John reminds Christians of the Gospel as they battle heresy. [5]

 As we apply this text to ourselves, believers must remember that the Holy Spirit’s presence does not mean they know everything about the Gospel. Christians should spend their lives learning and living the Gospel. [6] John means that the Holy Spirit directs us when someone lies about the Gospel, and helps us properly proclaim Christ’s death and resurrection as we are sanctified. [7] For those who deny Christ and His Word: you do not have His Holy Spirit to guide you in the truth and are lost in your sin. [8] If you confess your sin and need that only Jesus satisfies, you will receive God’s forgiveness, and have the Holy Spirit’s help for life. [9]


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 280.

[3] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[4] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279.

[5] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 279-280.

[6] Philippians 3:12-15; Hebrews 12:1-2.

[7] Kistemaker, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, 278.

[8] Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Timothy 3:10-17.

[9] John 14:6; Acts 2:14; Romans 5:1-12; 8; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, Galatians 5:16-26; etc.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 John 2:18-19: God’s Good Purging

1 John 2:18-19: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. [1]

 Some words can only be described as “theological grenades”: words that spark a series of often conflicting opinions. One of those words is “antichrist” and it is in verse 18. Why does John mention one antichrist then several in the same verse? John is helping us see that the antichrist is someone who denies Jesus Christ’s deity and work. [2] Verse 19 reveals these antichrists have come from the church. [3] This does not mean that the church is erroneous, but that there are people who are not saved in church. [4] The reality that unbelievers are in church, and they will leave and spread their sin should not alarm true Christians. [5] Rather, God’s purging His church calls real believers to thank God for His work in giving them salvation and perseverance, and to guard the church. [6]

 If John called his readers to rejoice in Christ’s salvation and to vigilance over doctrine years ago, how much more so should we? [7] We fail to love when we let someone live in improper doctrine. [8] While this is not ground for theological bullying, we cannot be cowards either. [9] One of the most loving things we can do is joyfully tell others about their need for Christ, as someone else lovingly told us.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] 1 John 2:22. See also John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 190-191.

[3] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[4] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191-192.

[5] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[6] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 192.

[7] Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles, 191.

[8] Bruce K. Waltke. The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 440-441.

[9] Charles Bridges. A Commentary on Proverbs. (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2008). 87.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 John 2:14-15: Undivided Love

1     John 2:14-15: I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

       I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [1]

 If a husband told his wife, “I love you and this person I met online” would you believe him? No! Similarly, you would not believe a Christian who said they loved the Trinity but lived like the world. That is John’s message in verses 14-15. [2] John’s repetition in verse 14 reinforces the importance for spiritual fathers to continuing growing in Christ, and that young Christians only conquer through devotion to God and His Word. [3] Verse 15 clarifies that if we live in the things the LORD hates we cannot please Him. [4]

 Do you view Jesus as so holy and worthy that you want to be more like Him? Everyone could grow in this area, but if it is not a concern to you then you should be worried about your soul. Claiming to love God while walking in darkness is a dangerous lie for your soul. [5] If you are a Christian struggling to love God, pray that He would renew your love and He will gladly send His Holy Spirit to help you. Speaking to your pastor can also help, especially if there are worldly loves pulling you from Christ. If you are not a Christian, know that your love for what God hates results in death. [6] You can have life by confessing your sinful loves and need for Christ’s perfect work. When you embrace Christ, your affections for the things that are killing you will decrease, and your love for the Triune God will increase.


This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Trans. and ed.: John Owen. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1979), 187.

[3] Simon J. Kistemaker. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1986), 268.

[4] Calvin, Catholic Epistles, 187.

[5] 1 John 1:5-10.

[6] Romans 6:23.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 John 1:7-8: Gospel Realities

I John 1:7-8: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [1]

John unashamedly discusses sin’s reality. In fact, in verse eight John uses sin as a noun to describe humanity’s continued state of justly deserving God’s wrath for breaking His holy law. [2] Further, John argues that if any one denies sin, they are lying about their natural state (v. 6), lying to themselves (v. 8), and say God and His Word are lying (v. 10). [3] But in the Gospel sin is not the only reality: the Triune God’s redeeming grace tempers sin’s existence. [4] The Trinity’s promised cleansing in verse seven means God forgives us our sins “and cancels [our] debts.” [5]

Are the realities of sin and Jesus’ redemption ruling features in your life? Are you able to sincerely sorrow over sin while clinging to Christ’s compassionate cleansing? Even believers struggle to hold these two truths: some despair over their sins while others hardly acknowledge them. John wants us to see both because without both we will not see Jesus properly. If you are someone who struggles with these truths, please think on these passages this week: Isaiah 53:1-6; Romans 6 and 8; and Hebrews 13:8.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Joel Beeke. The Epistles of John. (Webster, NY: Evangelical Press, 2006), 41-42.

[3] Colin G. Kruse The Letters of John. General Editor: D.A. Carson. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2000), 66.

[4] John Colquhoun. Repentance. (London, England: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), 18-19.

[5] Kruse, The Letters of John, 69.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Ephesians 4:26-27: Now I’m Mad!

Ephesians 4:26-27: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. [1]

Are these verses forbidding road rage? Perhaps: Paul’s main concern is not allowing expressions of anger to give Satan advantage over us. [2] Anger can be good and righteous when expressed in godly ways and aimed at evil. [3] Anger that festers, consumes, and/or unnecessarily explodes exposes immaturity and gives the devil a pressure point. [4] In order that Christ may keep us out of the evil one’s clutches, Paul lovingly shows us that the adversary rules when anger reigns. [5] Paul is not calling for immediate resolutions in every situation, but he is warning against rage. [6]

Why care? Do you drink poison? No, that would be foolish! Then why continue allowing anger and the devil to poison your soul? Turning to Jesus is the only means to escape the “corrosive” effects from fury and Satan. [7]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Bryan Chapell. Reformed Expository Commentary: Ephesians. Series Eds. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds. Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 2009), 224.

[3] Chapell, Ephesians, 222.

[4] Chapell, Ephesians, 223-24.

[5] Chapell, Ephesians, 224.

[6] Chapell, Ephesians, 223.

[7] Chapell, Ephesians, 224. See also

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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2 Timothy 2:22: Running From and To

2 Timothy 2:22: So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. [1]

As Paul continues mentoring Timothy on being a minister, he warns Timothy what to run from and what to run to in order to be a worthy servant for Christ. [2] As a pastor, Timothy must escape the “youthful passions” of “impatience,” “contentiousness,” and “harshness”—all things that shipwreck churches. [3] Yet, good ministers also live positive commands. Part of Timothy glorifying God and serving his church includes living righteously, faithfully, lovingly, peacefully, and purely. [4]

Unfortunately, we are more familiar with ministers who run to sin and from righteousness. Even those claiming to be Christians hurt anyone. These truly painful failures are not grounds for sin or rejecting Christianity. Believers: we must all strive to escape sin and imitate Christ. Others’ failures do not excuse ours. Sinful people should not keep us out of church. Unbelievers: you are right to call sin sin. But throwing out Christianity because of others keeps you from experiencing the love and peace this passage encourages in Christ. Please, do not let broken people keep you from “your only hope in life and in death.” [5]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell. Preaching the Word: 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. General Editor R. Kent Hughes. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, a division of Good News Publishers, 2000), 218 and 216.

[3] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218.

[4] Hughes, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, 218-219.

[5] The Heidelberg Catechism – Christian Reformed Church. Bing Search Engine. Accessed June 15, 2018. https://www.crcna.org/sites/default/files/HeidelbergCatechism.pdf.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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1 Corinthians 10:13: Comfort in God

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. [1]

Fewer words are more realistic and comforting. [2] These words are realistic because they affirm the existence of temptation and evil and prepare us for them. They are comforting because Christians are assured of help in temptation because God is faithful. [3]

These realistic and comforting words are also humbling. 1 Corinthians 10:12 reminds us to not trust ourselves, but honestly see our need for the whole Trinity. [4] If we cannot trust ourselves, [5] and God is our only hope to escape sin, then all of us must submit to Him for rescue. [6] If you are not a Christian, then the power you need to stop disobeying God’s law is not in you. When you acknowledge your sin and trust in Jesus’ righteousness as your exclusive means of salvation, you will be delivered from destruction [7] and have the power needed to live righteously. [8] If you are a Christian, God helps you in weakness. [9] Cry out to Him when you are tempted, and He will do as 1 Corinthians 10:13 promises.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016). Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, Vol. 1. Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 331.

[3] Calvin, I Corinthians, 332.

[4] Please see previous blog for more details: http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[5] Jeremiah 17:9; Psalm 14:1-3, 53:1-3; Romans 3:9-24.

[6] John 14:6; Acts 4:12.

[7] John 3:16-17.

[8] Romans 8.

[9] Romans 8:25-27.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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James 1:15: Desire's Deadliness

James 1:15: Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. [1]

After explaining that God tests rather than tempts people and that sin is rooted in the heart, [2] James helps us see where sin leads: “our own destruction.” [3] James is saying that sin begins in the heart and that it is destructive from the moment it starts. [4] When sin buds, death is harvested. [5]

Total depravity puts us all in the same place. [6] All of us have hated someone or longed for something that has hurt us or someone else. [7] Total depravity would be distressing if the story ended there. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” People find salvation in Christ alone when they confess their sins and trust in His life, death, and resurrection. Christians need to continue trusting in Jesus in repentance. If you do not believe, your sins are still leading you to destruction, but God’s grace still rescues if you will admit your need of Him.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] James 1:13-14. See also the blog on this passage: Seth Dunn “Tested Not Tempted.” www.proclamationpca.com. Posted 10 August 2018, http://proclamationpca.com/blog/.

[3] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistle of James. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 290.

[4] Calvin, James, 290.

[5] Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:6-11.

[6] Romans 3:23.

[7] Matthew 5:21-30, 7:7-12; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

Posted on August 14, 2018 and filed under Devotions.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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James 1:13-14: Tested Not Tempted

James 1:13-14: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. [1]

Some falsely assume God’s control leads people into sin. James’ words here place sin on the person who falls into temptation. Undeniably, the LORD tests His people’s faith. [2] However, “If a test becomes a temptation, it is sinful human nature that makes it so.” [3] Our broken hearts turn things that are good in themselves into occasions for sin. [4]

Everyone is in need because we all turn circumstances into sin. We make beautiful things and people into objects of worship, and/or long to take good things from others. [5] These failures bring God’s just wrath on us. [6] We need Jesus Christ, our perfect representative, Whose sinless life redeems all who confess their sins and trust Him solely. [7] All who believe in Him receive God’s Spirit Who helps in weakness, [8] and makes occasions for falling occasions for growth. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Daniel M. Doriani. Reformed Expository Commentary: James Series Eds: Richard D. Philips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Eds: Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Philipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 2007), 34.

[3] Doriani, James, 35.

[4] John Calvin. Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Mathew, Mark, and Luke, Vol. 1. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 212.

[5] Doriani, James, 35-36. See also Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Matthew5:27-30; Romans 3:10-24, 7:7; 2 Peter 2:14-18.

[6] Romans 6:23; James 2:10.

[7] Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 4:1-11; John 14:6; 1John 1:7, 3:5-8, etc.

[8] Romans 8:5-27.

[9] Romans 5:1-5; James 1:2-8.

Posted on August 10, 2018 and filed under Devotions.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:13-14: Salvation Snapshot

Colossians 1:13-14: He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [1]

As Paul brings his prayer to a close, he focuses on Christ’s redemptive work. Notice that what God’s people are saved from is darkness. [2] The darkness here is in us, in the world, and from Satan. [3] This darkness leaves God eternally displeased apart from Jesus’ saving intervention through the Holy Spirit. [4]

In these verses, Paul communicates our deepest need: having our sin removed—and sin is only removed by Christ. [5] If you are not in Christ, you are in displeasing darkness. If you face the fact that you are a sinner who needs Jesus, you will be redeemed when you confess and accept Him as your only Savior. [6] If you are in Christ, what are the ways you live like you are still in darkness? Which of Christ’s commandments do you struggle to keep? [7] How are you loving your family in Christ? [8] Are you learning your Christian beliefs so that you can live and share them? [9] Rest in knowing that God continues working in us, [10] that we are accepted because of Jesus, and that He empowers our kingdom work. [11]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians. Trans. William Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Co., 1981), 147.

[3] Matthew 3:2-17; John 1:1-5, 3:16; Acts 26:18; Romans 3:9-24; Ephesians 1:6-7, 2:1-10; 1 John 2:1-14, 3:4-10.

[4] Calvin, Colossians, 147-148.

[5] Mark 1:15; John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 6:20, 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:4-11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 John 3.

[6] Matthew 10:32-34; Romans 10:9-10.

[7] Matthew 5-7; John 15:10; 1 John 2:1-6.

[8] 1 John 3:14-24.

[9] Acts 20:25, 20:28, 1 Thessalonians 2:12.

[10] Philippians 1:6.

[11] Calvin, Colossians, 148.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:9-10: Prayer for Growth

Colossians 1:9-10: And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. [1]

What are things you pray for? If you do not pray, what would you pray for if you were to start? Paul prays that the Colossian saints would love God and walk in a manner worthy of Him. Paul’s earnest prayer is a sign that the Colossians still need to grow in their faith. [2] In order to grow in Christ and “the knowledge of his will,” the Colossians must study Scripture, which is “the only rule of right knowledge.” [3]

What are the implications of this passage for daily life? If you are a non-Christian, you are living without God’s Word, which is the only true knowledge. [4] While you are able to do beneficial things, [5] the Bible is clear that you are not living in true wisdom. This leads to your destruction. [6] Confessing your sins to God and trusting in Christ exclusively as Savior gives you true wisdom and salvation. Why wait? If you are a Christian, ceaselessly search the Scriptures to grow in godliness. [7] The Bible will lead you to God-glorifying works which are your calling. [8]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 142.

[3] Calvin, Colossians, 143.

[4] Proverbs 1:7; 2:6, 1 John 4:8.

[5] Exodus 18:1-27, Ezra 1.

[6] Proverbs 1:8-33. See also Bruce K. Waltke The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 1-15. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 200-213.

[7] 1 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:3-15.

[8] Calvin, Colossians, 144. See also Ephesians 2:10 and James 2:14-26.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:7-8: Epaphras: An Example of the Gospel

Colossians 1:7-8: Just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. [1]

As Paul opens his epistle, he begins describing the Trinity’s regenerating work which leads to true love. [2] Paul also discusses how the Holy Spirit enables faith, love, and hope which produce Christian fruit(s). [3] Now, Paul points to someone who lives the Gospel: Epaphras. Interestingly, we know very little about Epaphras. [4] What little we know indicates that Epaphras was likely the first person who shared the Gospel with the Colossians and was “a faithful minister.” [5]

While we know a tiny bit about Epaphras, what we know about him has real value. Epaphras was marked by sharing and living the Gospel. Christians: our life goal should be to be like Epaphras, to know Christ and make His name great. [6] Surround yourselves with believers like Epaphras that they may help you grow in godliness and spread the good news. [7] If you are an unbeliever, two thousand years from now, who will the legacy of your life point to? The good things that last forever are God’s. [8] When you confess your sin and come to Jesus as your only Savior, you will start a journey in what is eternally good and true. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software. All Scripture references will be ESV unless stated otherwise.

[2] Colossians 1:3-4. See also the blog titled “God’s Work: Reason for Rejoicing” which is on these verses.

[3] Colossians 1:5-6. See also the blog titled “Faith, Love, Hope, and their Fruits” which is on these verses.

[4] F.F. Bruce. Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians, The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1982), 182.

[5] Bruce, Colossians, 181-82. See also Colossians 1:7-8.

[6] 1 Corinthians 2:1-2; Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8.

[7] Proverbs 27:17; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Hebrews 10:25; 2 Corinthians 8:23, etc.

[8] Isaiah 40:8; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:25.

[9] Proverbs 1:1-33; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.

Treasuring God's in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:5-6: Faith, Love, Hope, and Their Fruits

Colossians 1:5-6: Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. [1]

In the blog on Colossians 1:3-4 we saw that faith, which is a result of God’s regenerating work, creates and feeds true love. [2] In verses 5-6 Paul connects Gospel centered hope to faith and love and shows their relation to each other. [3] Pastor William Hendriksen explains, “Christian mental and moral attitudes and activity such as believing, hoping, and loving, always react to each other. This holds too with respect to hope. It reacts mightily and beneficially on faith and love. Christian hope is not mere wishing. It is a fervent yearning, confidence, expectation, and patient waiting for the fulfilment of God’s promises, a full Christ-centered (cf. Col. 1:27) assurance that these promises will indeed be realized.” [4] Faith in and love for Christ gives believers assured hope which enables their daily living and outreach. [5]

Because faith, love, and hope founded on Christ lead to life and assurance amidst trials, the reverse is also true: non-Christians lack these God-given gifts necessary for handling trials. Everyone believes something, the question is if that something is worth believing in? [6] If the Trinity’s radically transforming grace is worth rejoicing (v. 3-4), why settle for less? If you do believe, you have a call to continue in and proclaim your faith. [7] Since the rest of the world lacks hope, you must not abandon yours, but try to bring others to it so that they may know the faith, love, and hope God has given you.

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture References will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Seth Dunn, “God’s Work: Reason For Rejoicing,” Proclamation Presbyterian Church (Mount Joy), accesses 6/29/18, http://proclamationpca.com/blog/2018/6/29/treasuring-gods-truth-in-your-heart-1.

[3] William Hendriksen. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Colossians and Philemon. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1987), 49.

[4] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[5] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 49.

[6] Timothy Keller. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. (New York, NY: Dutton, published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2008), 3-21.

[7] Hendriksen, Colossians and Philemon, 50-51.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Heart

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Colossians 1:3-4: God's Work: Reason for Rejoicing

Colossians 1:3-4: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints. [1]

Perhaps Paul’s thanking God for the Colossians’ faith and love seems odd initially. Paul begins with God because without the Trinity’s work, no one would be saved, have faith, and/or love. [2] In verse four, faith operates solely in Christ and His teaching. [3] Faith cannot come to people apart from the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work. [4] “Love is the fruit of faith and the proof of its genuineness.” [5] True love is rooted in Christ, and leads to loving others as He did. [6]

If you are not a Christian, should God call you to Himself, you will have great reason for thanksgiving. Faith in Christ equips people for facing challenges, doing good works, and persevering through hardest times. [7] The Lord’s heavenly resources are yours when you confess Him as your exclusive salvation from your sins. [8] If you are already Christ’s pray for continued growth and strength, so that by your faith and love, others will see God’s work and have true reason for rejoicing. [9]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 20016). All Scripture References from here forward will be ESV unless noted otherwise.

[2] Romans 3:9-23, 5:6-11, and Curtis Vaughan. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version of the Holy Bible, Vol. 11: Ephesians-Philemon. General Ed: Frank E. Gaebelein. Assoc. Ed. J. D. Douglas. Consulting New Testament Eds.: James Montgomery Boice and Merrill C. Tenney. Manuscript Ed: Richard P. Polcyn. (Grand Rapids, MI: Regency Reference Library, an imprint of Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 174. See also Leon Morris. The Gospel According to Matthew. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992), 68 and Daniel B. Wallace. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 98.

[3] Vaughan, Colossians, 174.

[4] Louis Berkhof. Systematic Theology: With a Complete Textual Index. Fourth Revised and Enlarged Ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977), 465.

[5] Vaughan, Colossians, 174.

[6] 1 John 4:7-11.

[7] Romans 8; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, etc.

[8] Matthew 7:7-11; 2 Corinthians 9:10-15.

[9] Luke 15:10; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Peter 2:21.

Treasuring God's Truth in Your Hearts

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Philippians 2:12-13: True Humility's Fruit

Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. [1]

This passage follows the beautiful description of Christ’s humble sacrifice, [2] which is the ground and example for Christian obedience. [3] Humility should be the chief characteristic of believers who “work out their salvation,” because looking to the Trinity brings humility. [4] Humility is the aim when Paul references “fear and trembling.” [5] Justification, humility, and Christian living come from God’s salvific work because even after salvation believers still need the Holy Spirit. [6] One glorious truth from Philippians is that because the LORD has begun a work in His elect, He will bring it to completion. [7]

When Paul encourages the Philippians to follow Christ in His absence, he does so because he knows how people can lose zeal. [8] The same encouragement applies to believers today: our passion for the Gospel should extend beyond weekend retreats, emotional highs, etc. We should humbly grow in sanctification in private and public. [9] If you are reading this as a non-Christian, you may wonder: where are the “humble” Christians? Truly, some believers poorly represent their beliefs. But, whose definition of “humble” are you working with? If you disagree with Christianity, you will disagree with our definition of humility, because Christian humility is founded on the One Who became a servant of all. Should you become His servant, you will grow in true humility and experience a love that inspires the rest of your life. [10]

This blog was written by Seth Dunn

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (Wheaton, IL: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Logos Bible Software 6. All Scripture references from here on out will be ESV, unless noted otherwise.

[2] Philippians 2:6-11.

[3] Dennis E. Johnson. Philippians. Series Ed. Richard D. Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken. Testament Ed. Iain M. Duguid and Daniel M. Doriani. (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co, 2013), 153.

[4] John Calvin. Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. Ed and Trans. John Pringle. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981), 64.

[5] Calvin, Commentaries, 64. See also 1 Corinthians 15:10.

[6] Johnson, Philippians, 154-155 and Calvin, Commentaries, 67.

[7] Philippians 1:6.

[8] Johnson, Philippians, 154-155.

[9] 2 Peter 1:10.

[10] 1 John 4:10.