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“I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in security. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You suffer Your godly one to see corruption. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:8-11

As we consider Jesus’ sufferings and death for the sins of the world and His glorious resurrection from the dead on the third day, it is fitting to consider what this historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection, attested to by hundreds of witnesses (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3ff.; Mark 16:1ff.) means for each of us as believers, and Psalm 16 is one of many passages of God’s Word to consider.

After Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world, His body was laid in the tomb. But, as the psalm states, and Peter testified at the feast of Pentecost, and Paul at Pisidian Antioch, Jesus’ body was not left in the grave and did not see corruption and decay. Rather, His body was raised up to life again on the third day — a glorious and heavenly body — and was received up to the right hand of God the Father in heaven, where there are “pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16).

In Acts 2:22-33, we read: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with powerful works and wonders and signs, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know. You have taken Him, who was handed over to you by the ordained counsel and foreknowledge of God, and by lawless hands have crucified and killed Him, whom God raised up by loosening the pull of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before me, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. For You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy with Your presence.’ Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear.”

In Acts 13:34-39, we read: “That He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give You the holy and sure blessings of David’ [Isa. 55:3]. So He says in another Psalm: ‘You will not let Your Holy One see decay’ [Ps. 16]. For after David had served by the counsel of God in his own generation, he fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw decay. But He whom God raised up saw no decay. Therefore, brothers, let it be known to you that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is justified from everything from which you could not be justified by the Law of Moses.”

So also, because Christ has died for us and is risen again, we who place our faith in Him have been justified and raised up to spiritual life in Christ Jesus and have the LORD God at our right hand to preserve and keep us — we shall not be moved. We have a glorious inheritance awaiting us in the promised land of heaven.

In Ephesians 2:4-7, we read: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 1:3-5 tells us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are baptized into His name are children of God and have an eternal inheritance awaiting them (cf. Gal. 3:26-29).

Because Christ has paid in full for all our sins and is risen again, our hearts, too, are glad; we trust in Him and rejoice in His mercy and forgiveness toward us.

Speaking of the blessings promised to Abraham, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 4:23 — 5:2: “Now the words, ‘it was credited to him,’ were not written for his sake only, but also for us, to whom it shall be credited if we believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our transgressions, and was raised for our justification. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

And, when we die, our bodies rest securely in hope — looking forward to that day when the dead in Christ are raised up with glorified bodies and will be forever with the Lord. Because Christ’s body saw no corruption but was raised up again on the third day, we can be certain that we too will be raised up and we shall see, in our resurrected and glorified bodies, our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:20ff.).

Job, thought to be a contemporary of Abraham and Isaac, said (in Job 19:25-27): “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another.”

And Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “But I would not have you ignorant, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and arose again, so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall be forever with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

Because of Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of the world, and because He rose again in victory, we have the confidence that we will be raised up in Christ’s likeness and that we will enjoy the pleasures which are at God’s right hand for evermore!

We, as believers, can say with David: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15).

“Jesus lives! And now is death but the gate of life immortal; This shall calm my trembling breath when I pass its gloomy portal. Faith shall cry as fails each sense: Jesus is my confidence!” (Lutheran Service Book, Page 490, v. 5).

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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15 Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to releasing to the people a prisoner whom they chose. 16 They had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that they had handed Him over out of envy. 19 When he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man, for I have suffered much today in a dream on account of Him.” 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and kill Jesus. 21 The governor answered, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 The governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but rather that unrest was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous Man. See to it yourselves.” 25 Then all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But when he had scourged Jesus, he handed Him over to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole detachment of soldiers before Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, 29 and when they wove a crown of thorns, they put it on His head and put a staff in His right hand. They knelt before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spit on Him, and took the staff and hit Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. Matthew 27:15-31

After examining Jesus, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, knew that He was not guilty of any crime — especially not of a crime deserving of death. Even Pilate’s wife knew that Jesus was innocent and begged Pilate to have nothing to do with the condemnation of Jesus. And so, in an attempt to appease the Jews and release Jesus, Pilate offered to do according to his custom at the Passover and pardon and release one prisoner to the people.

Matthew tells us in verses 15-18 of our text: “Now at the feast, the governor was accustomed to releasing to the people a prisoner whom they chose. They had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you — Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over out of envy.

The choice seemed obvious. Barabbas was a notorious prisoner who was a robber, a rebel, and had committed murder in the rebellion (cf. John. 18:40; Mark 15:6-7; Luke 23:). Jesus’ alleged crime was His claim to be the Messiah, the true Son of God and the King of a spiritual kingdom made up of all who hear and believe His words.

We read in Luke 23:13-19: “Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, ‘You have brought this Man to me as one who incites the people. And truly, I, having examined Him before you, have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him. No, neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing worthy of death has been done by Him. I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.’ For he was obligated to release one man to them at the feast. But they all cried out at once saying, ‘Take this Man away and release Barabbas to us!’ This man had been thrown in prison for an insurrection in the city and for murder. Therefore Pilate spoke to them again, desiring to release Jesus. But they cried out, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’”

If you were in the crowd outside the Praetorium on that first Good Friday and you heard these words of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, offering to release unto you either Jesus or Barabbas, what would you say? Would you ask that Jesus, who was innocent and without sin, who claimed to be the very Son of God, be released unto you? Or would you join the crowd in asking for Barabbas?

And, what would you say after the crowd asked for Barabbas and Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus, who is called Christ? Would you join the crowd in crying out of Jesus, “Let Him be crucified”?

We say we would not but, if we remember why Jesus was crucified and condemned, we must admit that every time we sin, we do say of Jesus, “Crucify Him!” When we sin, we add to the burden of His cross!

Now, if you were Barabbas, in a prison cell and chains, expecting to die for your crimes, what would you do if the soldiers came and set you free — if they told you that you had been pardoned by the governor and were free because an innocent man by the name of Jesus was being crucified in your stead? How would you feel?

Isn’t this exactly what has happened to each and every one of us? We are guilty of sin — we have broken God’s Law and are guilty of insurrection (rebellion) against God Himself! Which commandments have we not broken? We deserve to be condemned by God to the eternal fires of hell which He prepared for the devil and his evil angels!

But what has happened? God’s word of the Gospel has been proclaimed to us — we have been told that God punished His own dear Son, Jesus Christ, in our stead — that Jesus suffered upon the cross the full and just punishment for all our sins, the punishment that we deserved (cf. Isa. 53:4-6).

In Galatians 3:10,13, we read: “For all who rely on the works of the law are under the curse. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the Book of the Law, to do them.’ … Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us — as it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.’”

And, in 2 Corinthians 5:21, we read: “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Instead of condemning us to the eternal fires of hell which we deserve, God instead reaches out to us in mercy and offers and gives to us pardon and forgiveness for all our sins. He offers and gives to us eternal life instead of death and eternal damnation because Jesus Christ, His own dear Son, suffered our punishment for us!

Now, we don’t know for certain what happened to Barabbas after this, but we might just consider a couple of hypothetical possibilities. What if Barabbas had rejected Pilate’s offer of pardon and forgiveness? What if he had said, “I want to be tried and judged on my own merits”? There seems to be little doubt but that he would be condemned and probably put to death — possibly even on a cross.

What if he accepted his pardon, walked out of his prison cell and went back out robbing and killing and rebelling against the Roman Government? Would he not be arrested again and condemned for his new crimes?

What about us? Christ died for our sins and rose again and God reaches out to us with His offer of pardon and forgiveness, calling upon us to repent and look in faith to Christ Jesus and His cross. What if we say, “No, thanks. I will stand before the judgment seat of God on my own merit”? The Bible is quite clear. If we refuse to accept God’s pardon through faith in Christ, we stand condemned for our sins and will be punished because we did not believe in the name of God’s only begotten Son and our Savior.

As John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

And, what if we accept God’s pardon but then use our gift of freedom to intentionally continue on in our sinful ways? Will we not be judged and condemned of God for continuing to rebel against Him?

The Scriptures leave no question about the end result. Hebrews 10:26-29 says: “For if we willfully continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who despised Moses’ law died without mercy in the presence of two or three witnesses. How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

It is true that we by our sins are guilty of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. With the crowd on Good Friday, we by our sins say of Jesus, “Let Him be crucified!”

But because Jesus went to the cross for us, we, who are guilty like Barabbas, have God’s gracious offer of pardon and forgiveness through faith in Christ Jesus! When we trust in Christ, God graciously forgives our sins against Him, and He offers and gives to us everlasting life with Him in heaven.

Let us give thanks to our Savior for bearing upon the cross the guilt and punishment for our sins that we might be acquitted and partake of the everlasting blessings of heaven through faith in Jesus’ name. And, let us use our lives here in this world to the praise and glory of Him who has redeemed us and set us free.

Oh, dearest Jesus, we thank and praise You for bearing upon the tree of the cross the guilt and punishment for all our sins that we might be pardoned and forgiven through faith in Your name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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On the next day a great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. They took branches of palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” His disciples did not understand these things at first. But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. Now the crowd that was with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The crowd went and met Him for this reason: They heard that He had performed this sign. So the Pharisees said among themselves, “See, you are gaining nothing! Look, the world has followed Him!” John 12:12-19

Do you know what Palm Sunday and the events of that day are all about? Yes, you may know what happened on that day — how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt and was hailed King of the Jews, but why? What does it all mean?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t understand these things until after Jesus had risen from the dead and was glorified. As John writes, “But when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.”

What was written about Jesus? From the Book of Zechariah, we see the ancient prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! And cry aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; he is righteous and able to deliver, he is humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the offspring of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).

We see these very words fulfilled; the people shouted words of praise to Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of Israel. They hailed Him as their King. And, Jesus was riding upon a donkey’s colt, just as the prophecy said and similar to the way King Solomon was made known as the king of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 1:32ff.).

And what did they cry out? John tells us (in verse 13) the multitude cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” In Matthew 21:9, we read: “The crowds that went before Him and that followed Him cried out: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”

Compare that to the words of Psalm 118:19ff. In verses 25-26, the psalm says: “Save us [Hebrew: hosia-na], we ask You, O LORD; O LORD, we ask You, send now success. Blessed be he that comes in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.”

Hosanna, which is a call to the LORD to save now, together with the references to Son of David, King of Israel and He who comes in the name of the LORD, is an acclamation of Jesus as the Messiah and promised Savior who would save His people and establish an everlasting kingdom, a fulfillment of the promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:16, where God said: “Your house and dominion will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established by the LORD forever.”

This promise is spoken of again in Psalm 89:3-4: “You have said, ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: “Your offspring I will establish forever, and build up your throne for all generations.”’”

Thus, the events of Palm Sunday were a declaration that Jesus is the long-promised Messiah, the Son of David and King of Israel who would save His people and establish an everlasting kingdom.

The people were calling upon Jesus to save them as God had promised. He was the one who would “redeem Israel from all their iniquities” (Psalm 130:8). And, this, just days before He was crucified and died for the sins of the world to provide that promised salvation!

And we too cry out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” We pray that He would usher in the day of our salvation — the salvation he won for us upon Calvary’s cross.

We long for Him to come again and enter into the gates of the New Jerusalem and establish His everlasting kingdom and be our God and King forevermore! Cf. Phil. 2:5ff.; Rev. 7:9ff.; 19:11ff.; 21:1ff.; 21:22ff.

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! We praise You, Christ Jesus our Savior, and pray that You would come and establish Your everlasting kingdom and reign over us as our God and King. Amen.

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come; Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the LORD lift His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

[Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Refrain: All glory, laud, and honor to You, Redeemer, King,
To whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.

1 You are the King of Israel and David’s royal Son,
Now in the Lord’s name coming, our King and Blessèd One.

Refrain

2 The company of angels is praising You on high,
And we with all creation in chorus make reply.

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3 The multitude of pilgrims with palms before You went;
Our praise and prayer and anthems before You we present.

Refrain

4 To You before Your passion they sang their hymns of praise;
To You, now high exalted, our melody we raise.

Refrain

5 As You received their praises, accept the prayers we bring,
O Source of ev’ry blessing, our good and gracious King.

Refrain

Theodulf of Orléans, c. 762–821; tr. John Mason Neale, 1818–66, alt. Public domain VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

1. Why do we study the Bible? What does it teach us?

2 Timothy 3:14-17: But continue in the things that you have learned and have been assured of, knowing those from whom you have learned them, and that since childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

1 Peter 2:2-3: As newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow, if it is true that you have experienced that the Lord is good.

We study the Bible because it is the inspired Word of God and it teaches us about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Through the study of the Bible, we learn the true doctrine and teaching of God, and we are taught how to walk in His ways.

2. What is unique and special about the Bible?

2 Peter 1:19-21: And we have a more reliable word of prophecy, which you would do well to follow, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of the Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. For no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

1 Corinthians 2:13: These things also we proclaim, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

2 Samuel 23:1-2: The oracle of David the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the favorite psalmist of Israel: The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.

The Bible is special and unique because it is God’s Word to man. It was not written by the will of man. God Himself moved men to write and guided and directed them in the thoughts they expressed and in the words they wrote.

3. Does the Bible have mistakes and errors in it?

Proverbs 30:5: Every word of God is pure.

Psalm 119:160: Your word is true from the beginning.

John 17:17: Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

John 10:35: The Scripture cannot be broken.

All that the Bible teaches and says is true because it is inspired by God Himself and is His Word.

4. Has the Word of God been corrupted or lost?

Psalm 119:89: Forever, O Lord, Your word is established in heaven.

Isaiah 40:8: The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever.

1 Peter 1:24-25: For “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” This is the word that was preached to you.

Matthew 24:14: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:35: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.

Not only did God give His Word by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He has and continues to preserve His Word as a true and faithful witness to all the people in the world of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

5. What does God say about changing His Word — adding to it or taking away from it?

Deuteronomy 4:2: You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor shall you take anything from it, so that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6: Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Matthew 5:18-19: For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one dot or one mark will pass from the law until all be fulfilled. Whoever, therefore, breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do likewise shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Revelation 22:18-19: I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City and out of the things which are written in this book.

Jeremiah 23:28: And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully.

God forbids us to change His Word — to add to it or to take away from it. We are to speak and teach it faithfully. For this reason, we use great care to teach nothing more and nothing less than what God has revealed to us in the Bible. And we seek to use translations of God’s Word which are fully faithful to those texts which God has preserved and which have been widely used by the churches down through the centuries.

6. What use should we make of God’s Word?

Luke 11:28: Indeed, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.

Psalm 119:97: Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

We should read and study the Bible, learn its teachings and meditate upon it because it is God’s Word to us and reveals our sinfulness and God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son. It also teaches us how we ought to live, as believers, in service to our God and Savior.

Look in the front of your Bible at the listing of books there. You will find our Bible has a total of 66 books — 39 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books. Memorize these books of the Bible in order so that you can easily find them when studying God’s Word. Also, memorize the Bible passages listed above — memorize them all if you can — for they are God’s Word and will help you learn of Him and grow in your faith in Christ Jesus.

SUMMARY
We believe that all of the Bible, and each and every word of the Bible (the 39 Old Testament and 27 New Testament canonical books), were given by inspiration of God and are, therefore, the true and unerring Word of God (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:13; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Samuel 23:1-2). We also believe that the Word of God has not been lost or corrupted but has been faithfully preserved by God down through the centuries as a witness to all the nations (Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25; Matthew 24:14,35). We believe that it is still accurately recorded in the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Majority (or Received) Texts and that it can be read and studied in faithful Bible translations, such as Luther’s German Bible, the King James Version, the Modern English Version and the New King James Version of the Bible, and other faithful translations. We discourage the use of texts and translations of the Bible which are unfaithful and thus corrupt the Word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; Jeremiah 23:28; Matthew 5:18-19; Revelation 22:18-19).

Since all of the Bible is God’s true and unerring Word, we teach that the Bible is to be the source and judge of all Christian teaching. What is not in accord with God’s Word is not to be taught as Christian Doctrine (Isaiah 8:20; Jeremiah 23:28-32; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Acts 17:11). The Bible is also its own interpreter; thus, passage interpretations that are not in agreement with other clear passages of Holy Scripture are to be rejected (2 Peter 1:20-21; Isaiah 8:20). We teach that the Bible is to be diligently studied and heard; for it reveals to mankind the only way of salvation, which is through faith in Christ Jesus, and it guides the Christian in living according to God’s Holy will (John 5:39; 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Psalm 119:105).

[Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 (Read 1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Are you walking in the light or in the darkness? Sad to say, many, even among professing Christians, are walking in darkness; and each and every one of us would also choose to walk in darkness rather than coming to the light where our sinfulness and evil deeds are exposed (cf. John 3:19-20; John 1:1-14). But to continue on in darkness leads to death; to walk in the light leads to forgiveness and life everlasting.

While many would profess to have fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ, that is not possible if they are walking in darkness — if they are hiding and covering up their sins and sinfulness and pretending to be righteous of themselves. One cannot be a Christian and be continuing on in sin and willful disobedience, and one cannot have fellowship with the Father and be hiding and covering up sin (cf. Heb. 10:26ff.; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).

If we pretend to be Christians and in fellowship with the Father and are impenitent, continuing on in our old sinful ways, we are deceiving ourselves and not practicing the truth. If we are hiding and covering up our sins rather than acknowledging them and seeking God’s forgiveness, we are lying and walking in darkness and unbelief (cf. Psalm 32:1ff.).

“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. … If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,9).

To walk in the light is to acknowledge our sins and sinfulness — literally to say the same thing as God about our sins (ομολογωμεν) — and He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that we are acquitted, declared innocent and justified in His sight.

And how can God be faithful and just in forgiving our sins? It is because “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). Jesus shed His blood on the cross for our sins and the sins of all. Our sin was punished in Jesus and atonement was made. God’s justice is satisfied. Through faith in Christ Jesus, we have forgiveness and life eternal!

Again, are you walking in the darkness or in the light? Jesus and His Word shine into the darkness of this world, exposing sin, error and disobedience but also offering forgiveness and life through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Don’t hide from the light. Rather, walk in the light, confessing your sins and receiving God’s forgiveness and life for the sake of Jesus’ shed blood.

Shine upon us, Lord. Reveal our sinfulness but bring us to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, our crucified and risen Savior. In His name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association.
Published and distributed by Charisma House.]

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