Colossians 2:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 2:6

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” – Colossians 2:6  

Paul here is encouraging the church in Colossae to live life as it is intended as followers of Christ.  He specifically says, ‘as you received Christ Jesus the Lord walk in Him’.  Not as you received the doctrines of God, walk in them.  He is being very explicit here.

When we accepted Christ as our savior, we received the Spirit of Life in Christ.  This is His spirit residing in us.  We will have this Spirit in us if we are truly saved.  Paul says later in a letter, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9 If we are saved, we do not live in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us.  If He does not dwell in us, then we are not truly Christians.

So, if we have received the Spirit of God in us, then we are saved, so we must walk in Him.  To walk in Him means in this context, to conduct ourselves in the way Christ did and desires us to live.  The Law does not save, but it shows us the character of God and thus how we should live.  In the same faith, love and holiness He did.  Now we will occasionally fail in this, but when we do, we confess it to God and turn back to the life we should live.

The proof of our salvation is the life we live as a result of it.  Do we live totally committed to God, or not?  Paul is telling us that Christ gave it all for us.  We should desire, because of the Spirit that lives in us, to do the same for Him.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 3:28

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

Back in the first century, there were many divisions within the populations.  Several would be the have’s and have not’s, basically the rich and the poor.  Then there were the dignitaries and the normal people.  Then there were the wise and the foolish, as decided by the different groups.  And of course, the free and the slaves.  Each of these groups were looked at very differently.  This was the way of the Greek and Roman rulers.  And these distinctions were many times accentuated in order for the aristocracy to place themselves at a higher level than the common folk.

When Jesus came, He saw things differently.  He focused on one distinction as primary regarding His purpose here on earth.  That distinction was regarding following Him.  You either followed Him or you did not.  And this distinction was not as strict as those of the Greeks and Romans, and even to some extent the Jews, because with them, it was very difficult and sometimes impossible to cross the divide they had imposed on the people.  With Jesus, you could move from non-follower to follower by making the decision to follow Him.

In the focus verse, Paul is laying out this same idea.  Within the Kingdom of God, there are no distinctions accept whether you are a follower of Christ or not.  Everyone is on the same level.  First he says there is neither Jew nor Greek.  He is not talking about their ancestral line, for that remains.  What He is referring to is at this level, all are saved in the same way, and all are intitled to the same privileges.  Jews often looked down on the gentiles, and I am sure vice-versa.  However, within the body of Christ there is no favoritism on account of birth or bloodline.  All confess their love and devotion to Christ, and all are saved by His mercy and grace.  The same is said regarding the slave and the free man.  Being a free man does not give anyone any special claims to Jesus and His grace.

In those days, the women was looked at as totally subordinate to the male.  In the body of Christ, again there are no special privileges associated with the person’s gender.  Both sexes are seen as being at the same level.  Now, this does not mean there are no distinctions in what each of them do.  In the parental role, women will always by the mother and the man will always be the father.  And there are other distinctions, especially where the Jewish law was concerned.  However, within Christianity, both have equal rights, privileges and equal blessings.  And, neither are more useful or important than the other.

We must remember that all who are truly Christians are all one in Christ Jesus; no-one is greater or less than any other. We must never look at anyone and think we are better or worse than they are.  We should never flaunt our spirituality simply because we have more credentials than someone else.  All credentials really are to show how we have been prepared for the work God has called us to.  We are all called to specific tasks.  Some to teach, yes.  But some to hospitality, others to helping those in need, and still others to reaching out to those who no-one else will.  We are all equal in the eyes of God no matter who we are or what our talents are.  We should see things in the same way as Christ did.  There are followers, then there are those we need to become followers.  Any other distinctions are truly irrelevant.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 1:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 1:10

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Paul here is speaking to the church in Galatia regarding the fact that there were some within their church that were deserting the true gospel and were now following a false gospel.  In fact, he was amazed this was happening.  “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7.  The word gospel, which is the Greek word ‘euaggelion’, pronounced ‘yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on’, meaning good news, and in this context, the great news of our salvation being available because of the shed blood of Christ.  What Paul here was saying is that there were many leaving the true gospel and beginning to follow a message that was not good news or the true gospel.

Then Paul states that if anyone preaches or delivers a message regarding the gospel contrary to what he and his coworkers have already delivered, then they are to be under a curse.  “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:8-9.

As stated above, the true gospel is the great news of our salvation being available because of the shed blood of Christ.  It defines the payment of the penalty of our sins by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Therefore, a different gospel is one which denies the necessity of a simple dependence on what Christ did on our behalf, namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

There are many false gospels out in our world.  The more prevalent ones are the gospels of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  These do not even reference Christ but state the following of their god is the good news.  However, there are a lot of Christian cults that are deceiving many, such as Oneness Pentecostalism which teaches there is no trinity and the speaking in tongues is required for salvation.  Then there is Christian Science that says Jesus was not the Christ and there is no sin.  And Jehovah Witnesses that teach Jesus was Michael the Archangel, that He did not rise from the dead in Human form and the Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal active force, not a person.

And why do we switch to these false gospels?  It is because many teachers preach what man wants to hear, not necessarily what is true.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. This includes what is considered the prosperity gospel, antinomianism which states a Christian can sin because we are not subject to the law, and other Christian heresies.

In closing, it is not our job to preach and teach a gospel where the intent is to please men and seek their favor.  It is to preach the truth whereby men are told they are under the penalty of sin and only the death, burial and resurrection of Christ leads to salvation and leads to a Holy walk with Him.  Some will be angry and walk away because this is more than they expected or desire.  However, many will accept and believe this message and truly become a child of God.  This is our calling, and we need to put aside the teachings from wolves in sheep’s clothing and teach the full truth.  If not, then we and those who accept the message we give will come under a curse, and this is not a place we want to be. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 

One of the great benefits we have as a Christian is the peace that is received from Him.  This world is a difficult place.  There is so much turmoil and strife.  It seems like everywhere we look we see fighting, arguing and agitation.  This is, of course, the work of the enemy, he is constantly looking around for someone to deceive and torment.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

When we accept the work that Christ did on the cross, namely His death, burial and resurrection, we are justified, declared righteous because He paid the price for our sins.  And because of this, we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1.  We have been reconciled with God, and we now have access to Him.  And this relationship we have with Him, having truly given our lives to Him, is the source of this peace. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.  Why are we at peace. Because we steadfastly trust Him.  If we keep our minds focused firmly on Him and not ourselves or our situation, and we trust Him no matter what, He will keep us in perfect peace.  He will be our protector and our source.

Now, I am not going to say this is always easy.  There will be hard times.  I think we can all attest to that.  This is the way of the world.  The enemy is always looking for ways to get our eyes off God’s faithfulness and on our trials.  But Jesus said that we must be courageous, keep focused and remember Him.  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In the world we will experience trials and tribulation.  However, since we are in Christ, He provides us with the peace we need.  How can He do this, because He has overcome the world.  We can trust this and take courage in it.  For Christ is known as the Prince and Lord of peace.  Paul prays for God’s people, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

I will close with this last verse that has encouraged me more times than I can count. I pray that it encourages you greatly as well.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.  Be at peace.  He is victorious and He will be with us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Paul here is helping us understand that when we become Christians, where we truly have given our lives to Him and it is not just words, then we are not the same person we were before.  If we are truly in Christ, if we have died with Him and was risen with Him in newness of life, we are no longer the same person.  Here is what Paul wrote to the church in Rome.  “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”  Romans 6:3-7 We who are saved have been baptized into His death, we died to sin and have been raised with Him as well.  We are truly not who we were.

So, we are a new creation in Christ.  And this means that we are not to look at ourselves as we were, but as we are.  We need to put that old life behind us.  Our sins having been forgiven; we have the Holy Spirit in us.  We are no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Here is what Paul said.  “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9 True believers have the Spirit of Christ; therefore, our old life is gone.  I am sure we want people to see us this way.

Therefore, we must see others in the same manner.  We all know people who have been wild and done things that were not good.  We also know people who have treated us wrong in our past.  They may have mocked our belief in Christ as the son of God.  However, it is important that we look at them as they are now and not how they were.  Remember the golden rule.  “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. “Matthew 7:12. One of the ways we can exhibit this is found in the two verses just after the focus verse.  “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.  This is a work of God.  When we commit our lives to Christ and have become a new creation, He declares us righteous.  Our dealings with Christians should be as dealing with a righteous person.  There is training that needs to take place, however, all our dealing should be as what they are now, new creations.

All the things we know about someone’s past regarding sin must not be counted against them.  We can admonish them, in love, to help them to become more like Christ.  If they struggle with a sin, stand beside them and help them overcome.  “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1.

What a beautiful show of love when we follow this as intended.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Hebrews 13:8

Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8 

This verse says a lot.  Jesus Christ, our savior, the one that came and died to take away our sins, is the same from everlasting to everlasting.  Malachi wrote, “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”  Malachi 3:6. God does not change.  What He was in eternity past He is now and shall be in eternity future.

It is important for us to understand that before creation, the second person of the Trinity was chosen to be the sacrifice that was intended to reconcile men with the Father.  This was prior to the creation of man. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”  Revelation 13:8. God declared all things from the beginning.  He knew man would fall; however, He loved man; therefore prior to creating him, He set up his reconciliation.

Now, is Jesus Christ God?  Let’s look at what Isaiah says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6. Notice that the child born here would be called “The Mighty God” and “Eternal Father”.  This verse refers to the coming Messiah.  Now, is Jesus called the Messiah in the New Testament?  See the following, “Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”  Matthew 1:16. So, we see that Jesus Christ is God as we see in Isaiah 9:6.  Therefore, He does not change as it speaks of God in Malachi 3:6.

Now, what does this mean to us?  It means that whatever God says will come to pass, for if it does not, this means that God has changed His mind.  And if He would change His mind on one thing, it means He could change His mind on anything.  Looking at the above verses above, especially our focus verse, we see that God does not change.  And, in Numbers we read, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”  Numbers 23:19.  He does not change His mind either.  Therefore, since Jesus was decreed to die for our sins prior to creation, this hope of salvation is sure.  We can trust His word, knowing it will come to pass if we commit ourselves through faith to Him.

Let us rejoice because, as Christians, our future is sure and absolute.  There is true comfort and solace in this knowledge.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 8:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve sinned causing all of mankind to be under the curse.  “Therefore, just as through one-man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned”.  Romans 5:12. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, death came into the world.  But even more important in my thoughts, perfection was lost, for sin was passed on from generation to generation.  Man could not address this problem himself, for the solution was the shedding of the blood of an innocent, perfect man, who would have the sins of all imputed to him, thus paying the penalty for us.  Also, we would be justified, declared righteous, if we choose to accept this work done by Jesus.

This is what happened.  Man, himself could not do it, for no man was innocent, without sin.  Therefore, God had to come down himself and die for us.  And He did, through the second person of the trinity, Jesus the Christ.  Peter says the following when describing his calling, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouthand while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24.  Because of the death Jesus died for us, we are justified by our faith in His work.  “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”  Romans 5:1-2

I know this is understood by all who are Christians.  However, do we rejoice because of this?  This is the most incredible picture of love ever exhibited in this world.  We were condemned and bound for eternal punishment because of our sin, and there was nothing we could do.  So, God did it for us.  He spent over thirty years here on earth living an absolutely perfect life, ending in dying a horrendous death to pay the penalty for our sins.  Do we show our appreciation for this as we should?  As I said above, we were condemned, but now the condemnation has been done away with for us who are truly saved by faith in the work of Christ.

We must rejoice with everything we have, for we are reconciled with God and we now have access to Him.  “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”  Romans 5:10-11.  Never let this work of Christ be minimized at any cost. Be mindful of it at all times, for without this work, we have no hope, but through this work we have absolute hope, for our sins are forgiven and we are now children of God.  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  Luke 2:14. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Matthew 16:16.

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Matthew 16:16 

“And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  – Matthew 16:16

After Jesus told His disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, He led them to Caesarea. “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13. Caesarea Philippi lies approximately twenty-five miles north-east of the Sea of Galilee, where the population is mainly Gentile. It was an area associated with idols and rival deities. It was scattered with temples of the ancient Syrian Baal worship. Also, there rose a great hill, in which was a deep cavern; and that cavern was said to be the birthplace of the great god Pan, the god of nature. Also there was a great temple of white marble built to the godhead of Caesar. There He would have been able to teach the Twelve away from the crowds.

Here, Jesus asks them a question. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they gave Him several answers. “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Matthew 16:14. Some thought Jesus was a herald of national repentance like John the Baptist, or a famous worker of miracles like Elijah. And some believed He was someone who spoke the words of God, like Jeremiah and the prophets. Perhaps in seeing Jesus in these roles, many hoped for a political messiah who would overthrow the corrupt powers oppressing Israel. The disciples, who often mingled with the crowd were in a good position to hear what people were saying about Jesus.

Then He asked His disciples, “He said to them, but who do you say that I am?” Matthew 16:15. The disciples were clear in describing what others thought. But Jesus had to ask them, as individuals, what they believed about Him. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16. Jesus presupposes that his disciples would not have the same beliefs as others had. They would not follow the spirit of the age and shape their views by those of the people of that period. Simon was very clear and concise. This was a most powerful confession of His faith. He is, in essence, declaring Jesus to be more than just a man. He is Christ the Messiah and the Son of God. This emphasizes his divinity for both are joined together as one.

And He responded to this answer given by Simon. “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:17-19. God the Father revealed this truth to Simon. And because this truth was revealed to Simon, Jesus said to Him “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.” He did not call Him Peter because He was the rock upon which His church would be built. He called him Peter because the Father had revealed this to Him, specifically who Jesus was and he declared it openly. This was the rock, It was the words, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” which the Church would be built on. Putting all this together He was saying ‘I will bring my people together as my Church, on a solid foundation which will be a stronghold which cannot be defeated.’

And finally, Jesus tells them that He will give them the keys to the kingdom. Keys can be used to lock doors as well as open them. Part of the gospel message is that faith is necessary. Without faith in Christ, the door to heaven is shut and barred. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18. As the apostles preached the gospel, those who responded in faith and repentance were granted access to the Kingdom of Heaven; yet those who continued to harden their hearts and reject the gospel of God’s saving grace were shut out of the Kingdom

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Mark 1:1.

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 1:1 

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” – Mark 1:1 

We are now going to go through Mark’s gospel. First, let us look at who Mark is.  John Mark, who was often simply called Mark, is the author of the gospel named after him. He was a believer in the early church mentioned directly only in the book of Acts. John Mark is first mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary, whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray. “And when Peter came to himself, he said, Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” Acts 12:11-12. We see that Peter was rescued from prison where Herod had placed him, and was rescued by an angel, so he decides to go to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, Her home was a place where the Christians gathered to pray and I am sure to be discipled. Later, Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together. “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.” Acts 12:25. And, John Mark was also Barnabas’ cousin. “Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’ cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him).” Colossians 4:10. And lastly, Barnabas desired to forgive John Mark’s failure and to give him another chance. Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia. Paul took the more rational view: pioneering missionary work requires dedication, resolve, and endurance. Paul saw John Mark as a risk to their mission. Luke, the writer of Acts, does not take sides or present either Paul or Barnabas as being in the right. He simply records the facts. It’s worth noting that, in the end, two groups of missionaries were sent out, one group including Mark, which caused twice as many missionaries to spread the gospel. God had a plan.

Mark begins his gospel account, as our focus verse declares, that Jesus is the Son of God. The word ‘gospel’ literally signifies good news, and particularly the good news regarding the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. And he quotes the prophet Isaiah who is declaring the words that would be spoken by the messenger who would declare His coming. The words here are the words of Isaiah, however I will quote from Malachi similar words. “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1. This describes the ministry of John the Baptist, who was the messenger God sent to declare the way of Jesus. He says that John came here to prepare the way of Jesus, to clear the way for Him, which means he will prepare the hearts of the Jews to see He is their promised Messiah, the Son of God.

And here is how John prepared the way. “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:4-8. He came to prepare the hearts and minds of the Jewish people to hear the message of Christ.

And this is a picture of what we are called to do. We cannot save anyone but we can prepare people to accept the salvation provided by Jesus. Mark at the end of his gospel, says “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. We cannot save them, but we can prepare them to accept the salvation offered by Christ. So see yourself working, continuing the work John the Baptist started so that many can be saved. In doing so, you may never know all the people you have helped prepare to receive Christ’s salvation.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, for their

1 Peter 4:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 4:1

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” – 1 Peter 4:1

The ‘therefore’ at the beginning of this verse refers back to the end of chapter eight, which is summed up here, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” 1 Peter 3:18. What our focus verse is alluding to is that since Christ suffered in the flesh for our sins, the readers are now to apply that insight to strengthen their own resolve to maintain the kind of behavior that is pleasing to God, whatever negative reaction may be ignited in their nonbelieving contemporaries. He paid the penalty we could not pay for the sins we committed. It took a sinless, perfect man to pay the penalty for sins. This could not be us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. But Jesus was perfect and did not deserve what happened, but He did it for us.

Therefore, all of us who are believers should regard ourselves as having been put to death on account of our sin, as though having paid the penalty which Jesus did for us as a substitute. And now, as someone who has been executed is clear of all guilt, so are we. As someone who has been executed should not return to his old life, should he live again, neither should we.

Due to Christ’s sacrifice we have died to sin. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:11. And now that we live, we live in newness of life, and we live unto God. We have died to sin and passed into a new state and condition by virtue of our union with Jesus Christ our Lord. But while this is true, there is something we need to experience within our own spirits; hence the apostle says, “since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,” As He has died to sin, we are to die to sin also. This takes place, the beginning of it, at the time of conversion. The person who formerly loved sin should begin to hate it and no longer live in sin; “so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.” 1 Peter 4:2-3.

Now, unfortunately we are probably not going to live a perfect life. But still, as far as our heart is concerned, we are done with sin and desire it no more. There is no sin we should willingly do; none that we should wish to hold on to, for any sin we choose to keep and continue in will, if not done away with, cause us to fall away for we will desire it more than a relationship with Christ. Therefore, sweep them all out and live the life He has called us to.

When we give our lives to Christ and accept the loving work He did on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, we must look at our former life as gone, no longer a part of who we are. We must always look forward, knowing that we have an amazing eternal future to look forward to, if we do not look away and go back to that old life. Spend time in prayer, reading and studying His word, and giving Him the praise and adoration He deserves from us. Give yourself totally to Him. There is no better way to live,

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.