What Does the Bible Say About . . . .
CHRISTIAN GROWTH & PERFECTION
"Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God." (Hebr. 6:1). The apostles in their epistles to various churches or individuals stressed the need to continue growing in the Lord. In fact, for all intents and purposes, the epistles could be repeated here in their entirety. However, due to space limitations and in the interest in concentrating on the issue of Christian growth and perfection, only verses which contained words associated with those concepts were searched for in this computerized search of the Bible. Those words and their variations are listed below. It is our hope the through this study, we may have a better understanding of how to reflect Jesus Christ in every way, doing what God wants of His people.
Parentheses ( ) enclose the various suffixes used.
Only texts relevant to the subject of Christian growth and perfection were kept.
Gen. 6:5 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.6The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth --men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air --for I am grieved that I have made them." 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. 9This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.
Gen. 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.2I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers."
Gen. 32:27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered.28Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 29Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
Gen. 35:1 Then God said toJacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." 2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone."
Lev. 11:43 Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them.44I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. 45I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. 46"`These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground.
Lev. 19:1 The LORD said to Moses,2"Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: `Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 3"`Each of you must respect his mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the LORD your God.
Lev. 20:7 "`Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.8Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.
Lev. 20:25 "`You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground --those which I have set apart as unclean for you.26You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
Lev. 21:5 "`Priests must not shave their heads or shave off the edges of their beards or cut their bodies.6They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy.
Num. 6:4 As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins.5"`During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long. 6Throughout the period of his separation to the LORD he must not go near a dead body.
Deut. 16:14 Be joyful at your Feast --you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.15For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. 16Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed:
You must be blameless before the Lord your God
Deut. 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.
Deut. 23:12 Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself.13As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. 14For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.
Commentary: In an application to our modern day, our abodes such as our houses and workplaces must be cleansed of everything that would draw us away from God and insult Him.
Deut. 32:3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!4He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. 5They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation.
2Sam. 22:23 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.24I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 25The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight. 26"To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 27to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 28You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. 29You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. 30With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. 31"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 32For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? 33It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
Josiah led a genuine revival in his nation
2Chr. 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years.2He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. 3In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David. In his twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of high places, Asherah poles, carved idols and cast images. 4Under his direction the altars of the Baals were torn down; he cut to pieces the incense altars that were above them, and smashed the Asherah poles, the idols and the images. These he broke to pieces and scattered over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5He burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and so he purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim and Simeon, as far as Naphtali, and in the ruins around them, 7he tore down the altars and the Asherah poles and crushed the idols to powder and cut to pieces all the incense altars throughout Israel. Then he went back to Jerusalem. 8In the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, to purify the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah and Maaseiah the ruler of the city, with Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the temple of the LORD his God.
Commentary: The book of Job relates the struggle of a man, Job, to stay true to God, and blameless before Him, even though God withdrew His protective "hedge" around him and allowed Satan to torment him. The following sections portray dialogues between God and Satan, and between Job and 4 of his "friends." The name of each speaker is given before every section to help keep the comments in perspective. I would highly recommend reading the book of Job to understand the whole picture.
Job feared God and was blameless in his sight
Job 1:1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.2He had seven sons and three daughters, 3and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. 4His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom. 6One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 8Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10"Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. [and took every earthly thing away from Job including his children.]
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship21and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." 22In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job still blameless in spite of his losses
Job 2:1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.2And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 3Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." 4"Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." 6The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." 7So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. 9His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" 10He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job 4:5 [Eliphaz said] But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.6Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? 7"Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? . . . 15A spirit glided past my face, and the hair on my body stood on end. 16It stopped, but I could not tell what it was. A form stood before my eyes, and I heard a hushed voice: 17`Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
Job 8:5 [Bildad said] But if you will look to God and plead with the Almighty,6if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place. 7Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be. . . . 19Surely its life withers away, and from the soil other plants grow. 20"Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers. 21He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
Job 9:19 [Job replies] If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him?20Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. 21"Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. 22It is all the same; that is why I say, `He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' 23When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent.
Job 11:3 [Zophar] Will your idle talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock?4You say to God, `My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.' 5Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin. 7"Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? 8They are higher than the heavens --what can you do? They are deeper than the depths of the grave --what can you know?
Job 12:3 [Job] But I have a mind as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know all these things?4"I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called upon God and he answered-- a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 5Men at ease have contempt for misfortune as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.
Job 14:3 [Job] Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment?4Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one! 5Man's days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
Job 15:14 [Eliphaz] "What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?15If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, 16how much less man, who is vile and corrupt, who drinks up evil like water!
Job 16:16 [Job] My face is red with weeping, deep shadows ring my eyes;17yet my hands have been free of violence and my prayer is pure. 18"O earth, do not cover my blood; may my cry never be laid to rest!
Job 22:2 [Eliphaz] "Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise man benefit him?3What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless? 4"Is it for your piety that he rebukes you and brings charges against you?
Job 25:3 [Bildad] Can his forces be numbered? Upon whom does his light not rise?4How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? 5If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, 6how much less man, who is but a maggot-- a son of man, who is only a worm!"
Job 31:5 [Job] "If I have walked in falsehood or my foot has hurried after deceit--6let God weigh me in honest scales and he will know that I am blameless-- 7if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled, 8then may others eat what I have sown, and may my crops be uprooted.
Job 33:8 [Elihu, the young friend] "But you have said in my hearing-- I heard the very words--9`I am pure and without sin; I am clean and free from guilt. 10Yet God has found fault with me; he considers me his enemy.
Job 36:3 [Elihu] I get my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe justice to my Maker.4Be assured that my words are not false; one perfect in knowledge is with you. 5"God is mighty, but does not despise men; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
Job 37:15 [Elihu] Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?16Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?
Ps. 12:5 "Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them."6And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. 7O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.
Who may dwell in God's sanctuary?
Ps. 15:1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?2He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart 3and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, 4who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the LORD, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, 5who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.
Ps. 18:22 All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.23I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. 24The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. 25To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, 26to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. 27You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
The word of the Lord is flawless
Ps. 18:29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.30As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 31For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? 32It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. 33He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
Ps. 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.8The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. 10They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. 11By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. 12Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 13Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. 14May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Only those who are holy may ascend the hill of the Lord
Ps. 24:3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place?4He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. 5He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.
Ps. 26:1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.2Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; 3for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth. 4I do not sit with deceitful men, nor do I consort with hypocrites; 5I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. 6I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, 7proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. 8I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells. 9Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men, 10in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. 11But I lead a blameless life; redeem me and be merciful to me. 12My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD.
Ps. 37:16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked;17for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. 18The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. 19In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
Ps. 37:35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,36but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. 37Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. 38But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
Ps. 50:1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.2From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. 3Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
Ps. 51:9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Ps. 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.2But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. 3For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Ps. 84:10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.11For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
Be careful to lead a blameless life
Ps. 101:1 I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.2I will be careful to lead a blameless life-- when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. 3I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. 4Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. 5Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. 6My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me. 7No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
Blessed are those who walk according to the law
Ps. 119:1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.2Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. . . . 8I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. 9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. . . . 79May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes. 80May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. 81My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word. . . . 96To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
Prov. 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.7He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Prov. 2:20 Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.21For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.
The righteous will be delivered from death (on the day of the Lord)
Prov. 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.5The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. 6The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
Prov. 11:19 The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death.20The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. 21Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.
Prov. 15:25 The LORD tears down the proud man's house but he keeps the widow's boundaries intact.26The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him. 27A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.
Prov. 19:1 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.2It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.
Even a child is known by his actions
Prov. 20:6 Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?7The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. 8When a king sits on his throne to judge, he winnows out all evil with his eyes. 9Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"? 10Differing weights and differing measures-- the LORD detests them both. 11Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. 12Ears that hear and eyes that see-- the LORD has made them both.
Prov. 22:10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.11He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend. 12The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.
Prov. 28:5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.6Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. 7He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
Prov. 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.10He who leads the upright along an evil path will fall into his own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. 11A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.
Prov. 28:18 He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.19He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.
Prov. 30:4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!5"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
Isa. 1:15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood;16wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, 17learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. 18"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
Isa. 25:1 O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Isa. 26:2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith.3You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 4Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
Isa. 52:10 The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God.11Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. 12But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Jer. 22:2 `Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, you who sit on David's throne --you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.3This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people.
Satan was perfect until wickedness was found in him
Ezek. 28:11 The word of the LORD came to me:12"Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre [symbolic of Lucifer or Satan] and say to him: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
Dan. 11:33 "Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.34When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
Dan. 12:9 He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.10Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
The remnant of Israel will do no wrong
Zeph. 3:5 The LORD within her is righteous; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he dispenses his justice, and every new day he does not fail, yet the unrighteous know no shame.6"I have cut off nations; their strongholds are demolished. I have left their streets deserted, with no one passing through. Their cities are destroyed; no one will be left --no one at all. 7I said to the city, `Surely you will fear me and accept correction!' Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all my punishments come upon her. But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did. 8Therefore wait for me," declares the LORD, "for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them-- all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. 9"Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder. 10From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. 11On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. 12But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the LORD. 13The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid." 14Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem!
Mal. 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.2But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Matt. 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matt. 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
If you want to be perfect, follow Jesus and keep his commandments
Matt. 19:16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"17"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." 18"Which ones?" the man inquired. Jesus replied, "`Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19honor your father and mother,' and `love your neighbor as yourself.' " 20"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" 21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord" ), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
Luke 8:13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
John 3:28 You yourselves can testify that I said, `I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.'29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.
John 6:24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus.25When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" 26Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
John 15:10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 16:23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Jesus is our example in overcoming the world
John 16:32 "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Acts 3:11 While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade.12When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
Acts 15:8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." 12The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.
Acts 20:23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me --the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.29I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Prove your repentance by your deeds
Acts 26:17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' 19"So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen-- 23that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles."
Rom. 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Rom. 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.19I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice
Rom. 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God --this is your spiritual act of worship.2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is --his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Rom. 12:19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Rom. 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Commentary: As long as governing authorities do not stand in the way of obedience to God's precepts, we are to obey them, and to live in accordance with the laws of the land. If however, they set up ordinances which are directly opposed to God's Law and will, then we are to serve God first above all else, and then the government as we are able.
Rom. 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." 4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom. 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.14I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. 15I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. 17Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.
1Cor. 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,2To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ --their Lord and ours: 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5For in him you have been enriched in every way --in all your speaking and in all your knowledge-- 6because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 10I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1Cor. 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God --that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.31Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
1Cor. 2:4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power,5so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
You were washed, sanctified, justified
1Cor. 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12"Everything is permissible for me "--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me "--but I will not be mastered by anything. 13"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food "--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.
1Cor. 7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
1Cor. 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Our labor in the Lord is not in vain
1Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
2Cor. 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
2Cor. 1:12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.13For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
2Cor. 6:3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13As a fair exchange --I speak as to my children --open wide your hearts also.
14Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
17"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
2Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.2Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one.
2Cor. 8:6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.7But just as you excel in everything --in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
2Cor. 8:10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.9As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
2Cor. 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 7You are looking only on the surface of things. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he.
2Cor. 11:1 I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that.2I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?
2Cor. 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 11I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles," even though I am nothing. 12The things that mark an apostle --signs, wonders and miracles --were done among you with great perseverance.
2Cor. 13:8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.9We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. 10This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority --the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down. 11Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Eph. 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Eph. 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
Eph. 4:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Eph. 5:24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
He who began a good work in you will complete it
Phil. 1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you.4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. 8God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ --to the glory and praise of God.
Phil. 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Phil. 2:14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life --in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Phil. 3:10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Phil. 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable --if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me --put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Col. 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Col. 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.28We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Col. 2:1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col. 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Stand firm in God's will, mature and assured
Col. 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.13I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.
1Ths. 1:2 We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.3We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
1Ths. 2:9 Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.10You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed.
1Ths. 3:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.13May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1Ths. 4:1 Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 9Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. 11Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, 12so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
1Ths. 5:22 Avoid every kind of evil.23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
2Ths. 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 4Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
2Ths. 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.14He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Ths. 3:4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command.5May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance. 6In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us.
1Tim. 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work --which is by faith. 5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1Tim. 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1Tim. 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women will be saved through childbearing --if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
1Tim. 3:14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that,15if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
Godliness has value for all things, for the present and the future
1Tim. 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1Tim. 5:1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers,2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. 3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.
1Tim. 5:21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, etc.
1Tim. 6:3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time --God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.
Present yourself to God as one approved
2Tim. 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.16Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." 20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Some have a form of godliness, but deny its power
2Tim. 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth --men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone. 10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings --what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
Church officials must be blameless
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness--2a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. 5The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. 6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless --not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. 6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 9Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. 11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope --the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
Phlm. 4 I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,5because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. 6I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. 7Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
Hebr. 1:1 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Hebr. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.10In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
Hebr. 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebr. 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,2instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And God permitting, we will do so. 4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. 9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case --things that accompany salvation.
Hebr. 7:11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come --one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? . . .18The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Hebr. 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.26Such a high priest meets our need --one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
Hebr. 9:11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place [or "heavenly sanctuary" (alternative translation] once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Hebr. 9:22 In fact, the [ceremonial] law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.23It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence.
Christ, by His sacrifice, enables us to be holy
Hebr. 10:1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming --not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.2If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. . . .
13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
5The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." 17Then he adds: "Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place [or heavenly sanctuary] by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another --and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
Hebr. 11:26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. . . . 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith
Hebr. 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20because they could not bear what was commanded: "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." 21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."
22But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken --that is, created things --so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."
Hebr. 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Testing of your faith develops perseverance
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
9The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
13When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
16Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what the it says!
James 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it --he will be blessed in what he does. 26If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 2:12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom,13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that --and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. 3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 11Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you --who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. 12Above all, my brothers, do not swear --not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned.
1Pet. 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. . . . 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." 17Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
1Pet. 2:1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1Pet. 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority,14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
1Pet. 3:1 Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,2when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. 3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear. 7Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
2Pet. 1:2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pet. 3:13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
If we confess our sins, Jesus will forgive and purify us from all unrighteousness
1John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.4We write this to make our joy complete. 5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But 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, purifies us from all sin. 8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
To be complete in God, obey his commands
1John 2:4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. . . .
12I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world --the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does --comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist --he denies the Father and the Son.
1John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
Test and overcome the spirits of this world - Love one another
1John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19We love because he first loved us.
This is love for God: to obey His commands
1John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 6This is the one who came by water and blood --Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
Rev. 1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Do not forsake your first love. Repent and do . . . !
Rev. 2:1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Rev. 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Rev. 2:16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. 18"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
Make sure your deeds are alive and complete
Rev. 3:1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Rev. 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.12Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
Rev. 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Rev. 13:9 He who has an ear, let him hear.10If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
The 144,000 are an example for us.
Rev. 14:3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.4These are those who did not defile themselves with women [false doctrines, (compare Rev. 17with Rev. 14:8)], for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. 6Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth --to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." 8A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries." 9A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." 12This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. 13Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."
He who overcomes will inherit heaven and eternal life
Rev. 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars --their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Rev. 22:10 Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.11Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." 12"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Compilations in this series which will shed additional light on subjects touched on in this one include: