The end of our internal war

The harmonizing of our spirit and our flesh is possible only through faith in Messiah.

The harmonizing of our spirit and our flesh is possible only through faith in Messiah.

  • Matthew 6:7-8 –  “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

If it’s true that God knows what we need before we ask him, then why would it still be necessary to ask him? Why pray at all if God knows our hearts better than we know ourselves? After all, the apostle Paul described how the Spirit of God recognizes the deepest needs of believers’ hearts as our spirits within us provide a type of intercession before we can even form the words in our reasoning.

  • Romans 8:26-27 – In the same way the spirit also helps us in our weakness; for we do not know what prayers to offer nor in what way to offer them. But the same spirit pleads for us in yearnings that can find no words, and the Searcher of hearts knows what the spirit’s meaning is, because it’s intercessions for God’s people are in harmony with God’s will.

Some believe this intercession is the work of God’s Spirit and not our own, however, the context of Paul’s teaching in this passage has already set how God’s Spirit is a secondary witness to our own spirits within us that we are God’s children.

  • Romans 8:15-16 – But you have acquired a deep inward conviction of having been adopted as sons–a conviction which prompts us to cry aloud, “Abba! our Father!” The Spirit Himself bears witness, along with our own spirits, to the fact that we are children of God…

This would lead me to conclude that our inner “new” man, being regenerated by the power of God, has the ability to communicate spiritually with the Spirit of God himself in ways that we may not always fully or consciously comprehend. If this is true, then our verbal communication with God in prayer is only part of what is being conveyed, and a whole undercurrent of information is passing between ourselves and God without us fully recognizing what that is. All we know from this passage is that whatever that information is, it is in alignment with the will of God. Therefore, our verbal communication with God should also be in alignment with God’s will to balance our position before him in faith and trust. Perhaps some of our stress in this life comes when we act in contrary ways to God’s will and our spiritual stance becomes unbalanced.

I believe the Bible teaches we are psychosomatic beings: unified spirits and bodies, molded together as one complete unit in God’s image while we live this life. This differs from the generally accepted view that we are merely spirits living within a corrupted physical body which only houses our spirits in a generally disconnected way. Because of the unified status of spirit and body we are encouraged to ensure our fleshly impulses and conscious thinking is directed toward God’s kingdom at all times, because this unity of spirit and body is what allows us to accomplish God’s will in the reality in which we currently live.

Even though our spirits may be aligned with God’s will through regeneration by faith in Messiah, when we don’t reign in our conscious thinking from worldly impulses, our flesh veers into areas it should not go. This is how Paul illustrated the condition of someone who accepts and acts on those impulses of what he calls death, instead of acting on the life of the word of God:

  • Romans 7:22-25 – For in my inmost self all my sympathy is with the law of God; but I discover within me another law in my limbs at war with the law of my intellect, and making me captive to the law of sin existing in my limbs. (Afflicted man that I am! who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Yeshua Messiah our Lord!) Therefore, then, I myself with my intellect am in servitude to the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

From this passage has grown the concept of the dichotomy of spirit and flesh, but what Paul appears to be teaching in context is quite the opposite. Whatever the spirit of man desires according to the law of God may be “at war with the flesh,” but the flesh will follow the spirit that is directed appropriately toward God’s will. This demonstrates a unity, not a further dichotomy.

I have illustrated my thinking for your consideration in the following passage by enclosing the clarifying points in brackets.

  • Romans 8:1-9 – There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Messiah Yeshua. For the law of the spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua made me free from the law of sin and of death [in my flesh]. For the law [of sin] being incapable, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned [the law of] sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law [of God] might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the spirit is life and peace: because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be: and they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in flesh but in spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man has not the spirit of Messiah, he is none of his.

When we consciously act on faith and trust in God’s word, we are, according to Paul, living “according to the things of the spirit” which is in harmony with God’s law, God’s will. Our flesh must comply, because we are a unified whole which Messiah has freed from the war with the law of sin and death in our flesh. Living by faith in this way, we have the ability to accomplish God’s will which is our purpose in this life, and he can be glorified and magnified through our faithful actions.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Vigilantly seeking the things that are above

We should be finding ways to enact heavenly principles in the here and now.

Today we will be looking at the topic of vigilance. When we vigilantly “seek the things that are above,” we are not only looking forward to a heavenly eternity, but we should be finding ways to enact heavenly principles in the here and now, incorporating our new, spiritual kingdom life into the life we are living now.

The apostle Paul stated it this way:

Colossians 3:1-3 – If then you were raised together with Messiah, seek the things that are above, where Messiah is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Messiah in God.

It seems that Paul was basing this concept of seeking Yeshua taught that we should always keep asking, knocking, and seeking in order to receive, to have doors opened, and to find what it is we’re searching for.

Matthew 7:7-8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

According to Yeshua, this type of vigilance is rewarded with the objectives sought for. If we are consistently asking and seeking and knocking, then we will definitively obtain those things which we seek.

Paul carries this same theme of seeking and searching forward into a mindset that should continually guide us in our ongoing new life in Messiah. This seeking involves ongoing aspects of vigilance that are wrapped up in the definition of the original wording used in the text. The phrase he uses in the Colossians 3 passage means to seek in order to find a thing; to seek in order to find out by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into; to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after; to require, demand; to crave. These types of urgent and continual qualities of vigilance carry the same intent of Yeshua’s exhortation to keep seeking until the objective is found.

Whenever I explore this passage, I am reminded of a quote by G.K. Chesterton which reads, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” To seek first the kingdom is not just a weekend activity, or one which can be pursued by sharing “amens” on Facebook, or by reading and listening to everything that the current Christian subculture puts out (everything that is, except the Bible). No, asking, seeking, and knocking is a mindset; a consistent, methodical and undeviating value to be exercised at every opportunity where God’s will has yet to be expressed.

In like fashion, Paul uses the same wording to emphasize the believer’s desperate motivation to know God and his Messiah, to learn more about the things of God and to keep one’s focus there through the trials of life. This is what he prayed about for those early believers.

Ephesians 3:17-19 – I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Philippians 3:10-11, 13-15 – …that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. …  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

Can we truly say with Paul that we are “straining forward to what lies ahead…pressing on toward the goal”? This type of imagery conveys effort, discipline, and sacrifice to attain God’s purposes in this life. How we answer that question will typically uncover our progression of growth and our impact among those of our generation for him. In a moment, we will review this idea of sacrifice during this life, and how Paul expressed the concept of a sacrificial life that is lived for the Messiah.

Living a sacrificial life for God is going to be something that is different for every believer because we are all at different places in our walk with him. To Paul, placing one’s faith in the Messiah was, in no uncertain terms, a matter of life and death: death to self and traditions of men, and new life as a new self that seeks after the things of God.

Romans 8:13 – For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Colossians 3:5 – Therefore, put to death whatever is worldly in you: your sexual sin, perversion, passion, lust, and greed (which is the same thing as worshiping wealth).

This putting to death of our worldly passions and desires was considered to be an ongoing practice, one to where the believer becomes the dichotomous “living sacrifice;” that which is constantly being offered up to God, yet continually alive, as well.

Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

This renewal of mind comes as we vigilantly “seek the things that are above,” not only looking forward to a heavenly eternity, but finding ways to enact heavenly principles in the here and now, incorporating our new spiritual life into the physical life we are living now. In this way, we end up “putting to death” our selfish desires and we rise to the new life of our new self, created to be like him.

When Yeshua came into this world, it was as a human baby miraculously conceived in the womb of his mother. The spiritual element of his life was present from his birth, and this was brought to fruition at his resurrection from death. In this imagery is contained the following principle: the temporary mortal aspect, the flesh, has to die before the new creation, the spiritual reality, can be fulfilled. This is why Paul instructed the early believers to recognize that they were no longer to be focused on the fleshly aspect of anything, including Messiah.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 – From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Messiah according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Paul used the example and symbolism of Messiah’s resurrection beyond the flesh and applied it to the present life of those who believed in Messiah. He was encouraging them to operate from this mindset, because it was a reality in their lives that just had not come to pass yet; it was to be realized in the fulness of time at their passing from this life into the eternal kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 5:1-4 – For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened–not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

Life, in this sense, is eternal life: a status not only of unending existence beyond this temporary one, but a certain quality of life that is being generated within us day by day. When we are truly and whole-heartedly pursuing the things of God each day, we are becoming more and more of what God wants us to be as his representatives on this earth, and in anticipation of the life that is truly life beyond this mortal existence.

Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not speak falsehoods to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its doings, and have clothed yourselves with the new self which is being remoulded into full knowledge so as to become like Him who created it.

2 Corinthians 4:16 – …even though our outward man is wasting away, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day.

I like how the Weymouth NT here phrased Colossians 3:10 as “the new self which is being remoulded into full knowledge…” The word that the apostle Paul uses here appears to be unique to him and only appears in these two verses: Colossians 3:10 and 2 Corinthians 4:16. It conveys the idea of renewal or renovation; something that is an ongoing process in the life of the believer. Saying that believers need to be remolded into full knowledge captures a vivid image: we need to have our substance crafted into something new in order to become useful to God. And the verse also tells us that the goal is “to become like Him who created it.” This is image-of-God language that is foundational to the theology of the kingdom. When we seek first the kingdom; when we pursue it by striving after it and craving it, reasoning through it and enquiring into it on a daily basis, it changes and transforms us. We become reshaped, remolded, and renewed in essence of being, causing us to become like our Father.

The apostle Peter phrased it in these types of terms:

1 Peter 4:1-2 – Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same understanding ​– ​because the one who suffers in the flesh is finished with sin ​– ​ in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will.

Each of us only has a certain remaining time here to accomplish what God desires, and we don’t know when that eventuality will occur. If we are being led of God’s Spirit to grow in him, being molded into his image more and more each day, we should work diligently to be sure that God is receiving the benefit of his investment in us by our faithful and obedient representation of him. This is how we incorporate our new, spiritual kingdom life into the life we are living now, and how his will is accomplished in each generation.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Peace and reconciliation are the primary indicators of the children of God

Believers are taught and encouraged to operate within a spirit of peace at all times.

Believers are taught and encouraged to operate within a spirit of peace at all times.

When Yeshua taught his disciples about forgiveness, it was with the idea that they were to be reconcilers, those who promote peace instead of further divisiveness. This was to be true not only among themselves, but with all others, even including their enemies.

Matthew 5:44 – “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

The apostle Paul continued this line of thinking in his epistle to the Roman congregation.

Romans 12:16-18 – Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

The apostle James mentions how it is the wisdom of God which promotes peace, and also how righteousness can only become evident in an environment of peace.

James 3:17-18 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without pretense. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.

If the fruit of righteousness (that is, doing what is right in God’s eyes) can only be sown in peace, then we see how peace itself, as a fruit of the holy Spirit, is a demonstration of God working within our lives.

  • Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
  • Romans 8:14 – For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

According to the apostle Paul, anyone who considers themself to be a child of God is led by the Spirit of God. Therefore, if one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace, then peace prompted and flowing from God’s Spirit should be evident within their life. This aligns with the teaching of Yeshua

Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers, just like the Roman congregation, to have the same mind about living in peace which would be an outward demonstration of their spiritual maturity or completeness.

2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, have the same mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Living in peace with others is an identifiable characteristic of Kingdom life. If we are attempting to promote the wisdom of God to others, then, according to the apostle James, at its most basic level that wisdom can only be sown amidst an environment of peace and good will toward others.

Romans 14:19 – So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

If we have a shared faith in Messiah Yeshua, then we can build on that to encourage one another. If we encounter others who do not share a biblical faith, then, as children of God shining as lights in this world of darkness, we are still obligated as much as possible to live at peace with them.

Romans 12:17-18 – Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

This is how we demonstrate the love of God to others, not through condemnation, but through being peace makers. This is how we exemplify to others that we truly are children of God. This is how we overcome adversity and bond together as brothers and sisters in Messiah. This is the way of interacting socially with all that honors God and fulfills his desire for his Kingdom becoming evident on the earth.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The eternal kingdom of faithfulness

Believers are challenged to demonstrate their true allegiance as citizens of an everlasting kingdom.

Believers are challenged to demonstrate their true allegiance as citizens of an everlasting kingdom.

If one thing is abundantly clear from the Bible, it is that the fate and longevity of the kingdom of Israel depended on the integrity and righteousness of the king. While there are numerous examples of this, Jeroboam son of Nebat , the first king over the ten tribes of the northern kingdom, set an awful precedent of idolatry which was followed by many kings after him. He created idols of golden calves in the north and south so people would not have to go to Jerusalem to worship. He created his own made-up holiday in the eighth month encouraging the Israelites to have a festival and make sacrifices. In short, he corrupted the northern kingdom with extreme idolatry. Other northern kings followed in his footsteps:

2 Kings 15:8-9 – In the thirty-eighth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Zechariah son of Jeroboam reigned over Israel in Samaria for six months. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.

2 Kings 15:17-18 – In the thirty-ninth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel, and he reigned ten years in Samaria. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight. Throughout his reign, he did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.

2 Kings 15:23-24 – In the fiftieth year of Judah’s King Azariah, Pekahiah son of Menahem became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned two years. He did what was evil in Yahweh’s sight and did not turn away from the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.

The two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin also had their own bad representative in the person of Ahaz.

2 Chronicles 28:1-4 – Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. He did not do what was right in Yahweh’s sight like his ancestor David, for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and made cast images of the Baals. He burned incense in Ben Hinnom Valley and burned his children in the fire, imitating the detestable practices of the nations Yahweh had dispossessed before the Israelites. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree.

The account in Chronicles relates that the result of this wickedness and rampant idolatry of Ahaz led to the humbling of the kingdom of Judah:

2 Chronicles 28:19 – For Yahweh humbled Judah because of King Ahaz of Judah, who threw off restraint in Judah and was unfaithful to Yahweh.

I could equally list a group of good kings who did what was right and good in God’s eyes, such as Joash or Hezekiah, who accomplished great reforms and sought to remove all idolatry and wrongdoing from the land.

But the point remains that the conditions in the kingdom were dependent on the attitude and actions of the king. If they obeyed, they were blessed; if they disobeyed, they suffered from foreign oppression, poor harvests, and war.

The good news is that the eternal kingdom of God has a righteous king! When Yeshua arrived to announce the kingdom of God, he represented it as a kingdom of repentance, holiness, integrity, peace, and faithful obedience to God.

Matthew 5:3-10 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.”

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the kingdom of Messiah is patterned after the example of Melchizedek, whose very name means “king of righteousness.”

Hebrews 6:19-20 – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Yeshua has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because he has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 7:1-2 – For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means king of righteousness, then also, king of Salem, meaning king of peace.

However, Yeshua instructed Pilate that his kingdom was not one that was to be set up in this world. It was not to be a physical kingdom that would be established at that time to overthrow the Roman oppression that Israel was facing .

John 18:36 – “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Yeshua. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

The apostle Paul continued this teaching that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom, and not one that is on this earth.

1 Corinthians 15:50 – What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption.

The kingdom that was established at that time was a spiritual kingdom, because only a spiritual kingdom can last for eternity. And the king of this kingdom must be immortal, as Yeshua demonstrated by his resurrection. Anything that is physically of this world is temporary, even if it were a kingdom to last a thousand years or more. According to Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the kingdom that God set up through his Messiah was to be an everlasting kingdom.

Daniel 2:44 – “In the days of those kings [i.e., the Romans], the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.

True to form, every kingdom of Daniel’s prophecy, including the rebellious kingdom of ancient Israel, had to be brought to an end. In the death of the national kingdom was the birth of the spiritual and everlasting kingdom. The physical kingdom by its very nature could not and would not last forever.

Daniel 12:6-7 – One of them said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river, “How long until the end of these wondrous things? ” Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the water of the river. He raised both his hands toward heaven and swore by him who lives eternally that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. When the power of the holy people is shattered, all these things will be completed.

The power of the holy people, national Israel, was shattered after three and a half years of fighting with the Romans, and the city and temple fell in 70 AD. That was the time of the end spoken of by the angel to Daniel.

Daniel 12:8-9 – I heard but did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these things? ” He said, “Go on your way, Daniel, for the words are secret and sealed until the time of the end.

Paul said that at the time of the end the kingdom of Messiah would be placed under the authority of God the Father for all eternity

1 Corinthians 15:24, 28 – Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. … When everything is subject to Messiah, then the Son himself will also be subject to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

This is the kingdom that exists today. All rightful rule and authority belongs Messiah under the auspices of God the Father, not to the temporary nations and kingdoms of this world. Believers may be living in various kingdoms and nations today, but they are first and foremost citizens of the eternal spiritual kingdom that continues to grow throughout the earth. This is the high calling of those who have been drawn to God through faith in his Messiah. The kingdom of Messiah is a kingdom of repentance, holiness, integrity, peace, and faithful obedience to Yahweh. Nations of this earth may come and go, but it is the kingdom of God which will last throughout all eternity, and the eternal open invitation will continually remain for all who will hear:

Revelation 22:17 – Both the Spirit and the bride say, “Come! ” Let anyone who hears, say, “Come! ” Let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life freely.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.comdcrex

Trust that is rewarded

When we place our trust in him, God provides reassurances that provide peace and joy.

When we place our trust in him, God provides reassurances that provide peace and joy.

Psalm 119:125 – I am your servant; give me understanding so that I may know your decrees.

One of the challenging things about God’s Word is that it takes faith to understand it. People may resist committing to place their faith in God and in his Messiah because they don’t understand everything about God’s Word.

But the wisdom that comes from God is poured out only on those who are exhibiting faith in him. It’s as if God has provided enough information to bring us to himself, and yet he reserves the deeper understanding for those whom he knows are truly committed to him: his servants.

Yeshua taught a similar concept when the religious leaders refused to believe his teachings. They had assumed because he was a simple, unlearned man he could not be sharing the truth of the one true God. Yet, Yeshua challenged them with committing to accomplish the will of God, and his teaching would then become self-evident. That’s almost like a money-back guarantee in today’s marketing terminology.

John 7:15-17 – Then the Jews were amazed and said, “How is this man so learned, since he hasn’t been trained? ” Yeshua answered them, “My teaching isn’t mine but is from the one who sent me. If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.”

It’s as if God wants to make sure that we are serious about following him before providing us the ability to connect all the dots. The apostle Paul compared this to the contrast between a natural man and a spiritual man:

1 Corinthians 2:12-14 – “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

But once someone places their faith in God, he verifies for them the truth of his Word and his purposes. Through the eyes of his Spirit, the challenges to understanding his Word begin to melt away, and we can become more confident in our assertions as we continue to learn and study more about who he is, and how he has chosen to communicate with his creatures and operate within his Creation.

Psalm 119:140 – Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.

As his servants, we come to realize how intertwined his influence is in all things, and we can rest assured that he has proven himself faithful time and time again. This is the joy that comes from faith in the God of the Bible and his Messiah.

Romans 15:13 – Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the holy Spirit.


If you enjoy these daily articles, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com

The tangible benefits of sincere faith

Both the spiritual and the natural realms harmonize in God.

The third chapter of the Proverbs of Solomon is known most popularly for its declaration of trust in Yahweh which will lead believers in truth.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

As I reviewed the entirety of this passage recently, I noticed that the first ten verses of this chapter are a collection of five different Hebrew parallelisms. In each one, an action is encouraged and then a benefit is described by following that action.

Proverbs 3:1-2
Action: My son, don’t forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commands;
Benefit: for they will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being.

Proverbs 3:3-4
Action: Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Benefit: Then you will find favor and high regard with God and people.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Action: Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,
Benefit: and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:7-8
Action: Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear Yahweh and turn away from evil.
Benefit: This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones.

Proverbs 3:9-10
Action: Honor Yahweh with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
Benefit: then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

The Hebrew mindset all throughout the Bible is that trusting in Yahweh and patterning one’s life to honor him has a direct impact on the quality of life that one lives during our time here on earth. The Hebrew faith is not just one of pie-in-the-sky hope for eternity beyond this life, but for a lifestyle faith that has tangible benefits and rewards during this lifetime.

Our Western culture and mindset has separated the spiritual from the natural and stripped the Bible of its relevance for real world application in the process. If the Bible is only a book to guide us to some sort of spiritual bliss beyond this life, then it is only as beneficial as any other of the thousands of sacred traditions that promise similar utopian myths. By that logic, none of them can be demonstrated as valid, since the life is lived by the unseen faith of the individual with no real evidence of truth until after the individual dies and experiences whatever their utopian myths promise them.

To the contrary, the Bible is practical and impacts the lives of believers, and those around them, in this life. The Bible encourages positive behaviors that honor God and serve others in his name. This brings benefit to oneself and to those in need around them.

The extreme flipside of this ideal is when believers take all of the Bible benefits, plucking them from their contexts and seeking for them as being deserved or “owed” to them because they are claiming those for themselves. This “name it and claim it” mentality is the epitome of selfishness: giving to God only to get something in return, or providing some sort of lip-service to God to seek physical healing or benefit for oneself. It’s as if we suffer from a type of biblical schizophrenia and can’t maintain a consistent theology; either everything is spiritual or every earthly benefit can be selfishly claimed for ourselves.

But in reality, the Bible isn’t there to exploit for our own benefit, either spiritually or physically. It exists to point us to the Creator of all and to help us understand we exist in this world to represent him and his principles to others. We are encouraged to lay down our own lives and aspirations to serve him from the heart, and when we do so, our lives line up harmoniously with his universal spiritual principles which resonate within this physical realm. In the process, the natural benefits mentioned throughout the Bible are realized, not instantly or every time, but as a wave-form that becomes more settled and consistent over time as we pattern our lives after his will.

The walk of faith is one of consistent effort and growth as we continue to understand more of who God is and how he desires us to live our lives and interact with others. When we are faithfully following his spiritual principles of wisdom and service to others, our physical lives begin to radiate in tandem with the beneficial outcomes he provides. This is how the believing life is lived and demonstrated as real.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

A spiritual house with spiritual service to others

The legacy of believers today is one of hard and necessary work on behalf of others.

1 Peter 2:4-5 – As you come to him, a living stone ​– ​rejected by people but chosen and honored by God ​– ​ you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Messiah.

As we have seen in previous writings, Peter is writing to groups of early Jewish believers who had been scattered throughout the Roman empire. This was the result of their diaspora, their scattering, due to their ancestral idolatry and rejection of the Torah of God. God had removed the northern ten tribes from the land of Israel with the Assyrian invasion of 740 BC, and they were distributed and exiled throughout the known world at that time.

1 Peter 1:1 – Peter, an apostle of Yeshua Messiah: To those chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…

Now, over 700 years later, Peter is writing to their descendants and sharing the good news that God is restoring his lost sheep of those tribes into one flock and one fold through faith in Messiah. Peter is using the imagery of the temple as a way of illustrating their restored relationship to the true faith as the remnant of God, a remnant once again called out from among the overall religious majority of what was at the time orthodox Judaism.

Amidst this temple imagery, Peter illustrates how it is not the physical temple that matters; he knew it was about to be destroyed because Messiah had prophesied it decades earlier. Instead, Peter relates how the remnant people chosen by God were in the process of becoming something else, a spiritual priesthood that would have the privilege of offering spiritual sacrifices to God.

Biblically, the priesthood did not exist for its own purpose; the priesthood was a selected tribe within the larger community of Israel as a nation that was to be the mediators, the go-betweens. They had been chosen and set apart by God for the purpose of serving the others by presenting the sacrifices and offerings on behalf of the rest of the nation to God. Peter is conveying that these remnant believers scattered among the nations were not believing just for themselves, but that their role was to be a spiritually set-apart group that would be the example to others who would come after them, those who would believe because of their faithfulness. In so doing, they would effectively become a spiritual priesthood, the go-betweens who would bridge the divide between the natural priesthood which was about to be destroyed and the spiritual reality of the new temple in the New Jerusalem, the spiritual temple of the ongoing kingdom of God. They had become the “living stones” within the temple that Yeshua had prophesied he would build.

Mark 14:58 – “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another not made by hands.’ “

Are believers today the spiritual priesthood that Peter is writing to? No, we need to recognize that he was writing to a specific group of people at a specific point in time two thousand years ago. However, are there symbolic parallels between believers today and those of the scattered Israelite remnant who were being brought back into the fold? Indeed, believers today are a minority group of people called out from the masses of the overall population; we are to be examples of faithfulness to those among the rest of the community; and we are to be serving others with spiritual sacrifices on behalf of God. We are participants within the spiritual temple built by Yeshua who have the privilege of enjoying God’s presence.

We must always remember that we are standing on a legacy of faithful believers who have gone before us, but we are not here to enjoy the mercies of God for our own benefit. No, if we are to be true to our calling, we are here solely for the purpose of others. We must, like the early called-out remnant, perform our spiritual service to others with obedient and caring hearts, that others may also participate in the spiritual temple within the eternal kingdom of God: The New Jerusalem.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Being clothed with the Spirit of God

Our being set apart by God is not only for our benefit, but so that others can see how God’s standards are possible to live out in this life.

In overcoming the sins of the flesh, the apostle Paul made use of an interesting term in order to describe what this process was like. To his way of thinking, the believer’s life was to be clothed with the Messiah, as if the righteous example and deeds of the Messiah were something to be put on, like you might put on a robe or suit of armor.

Romans 13:12-14 – The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Yeshua Messiah, and don’t make plans to gratify the desires of the flesh.

This thinking is likely the result of Yeshua’s teaching of the empowerment of the holy Spirit. In this respect, the empowerment of the Spirit of God was something that occurred to the individual from outside of themselves; it was bestowed upon them from God.

Luke 24:49 – “And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

This event, of course, was the day of Pentecost that first early summer after Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection. Yeshua describes it as being clothed with power from on high (that is, from God). We see this event being described in the book of Acts:

Acts 2:1-4 – When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.

Paul captures this same imagery and uses it to describe the believers’ unity they have because of this operation of God in their lives.

Galatians 3:26-28 – for through faith you are all sons of God in Messiah Yeshua. For those of you who were baptized into Messiah have been clothed with Messiah. There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; since you are all one in Messiah Yeshua.

This operation of God has set them apart in holiness. They are now a collective of individuals who have specific purpose in growing the Kingdom of God. But they can only do this as they continue to walk in this holiness, this set-apartness.

So Paul then takes this imagery of being clothed with power from on high and carries the metaphor into the practical aspects of overcoming sin in their lives.

Ephesians 4:20-24 – But that is not how you came to know Messiah, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Yeshua, to take off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new man, created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

He encourages the believers to rely on that empowerment they have received as the tool by which their lives will be changed.

Ephesians 6:10-11 – Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.

Colossians 3:9-10, 12-14 – Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with its practices and have put on the new, the one being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. … Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all these is the love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

These qualities and practices he is urging them to “put on” are the qualities and practices evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5, 12-14 – For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. … So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.

The full context of Romans 8:1-17 is all about living by the empowering of God’s Spirit to overcome the sinful practices that have separated them from God. When they do so, Paul says, they demonstrate they are truly God’s children. God’s children walk in holiness or set-apartness because they are yielding obediently to God’s leading and they are empowered by God to do so.

In a similar way, when we learn to rely on God’s Spirit to overcome the sinful works of the flesh, we demonstrate that we are God’s children to a world that needs to know him. Our being set apart by God is not only for our benefit, but so that others can see how God’s standards are possible to live out in this life. Those who are compelled by our walk of obedience can then also experience this work in their lives and are then empowered to influence others. In this way, each generation carries forward the heritage of faith in Messiah until it ultimately fills the earth.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Citizens of a spiritual kingdom

The kingdom of God ushered in by his Messiah is not meant to be a physical kingdom on this earth.

John 3:3-6 – Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “How can anyone be born when he is old? ” Nicodemus asked him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born? ” Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. “Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.

In this famous passage of Scripture, we find Yeshua instructing Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler, in the meaning of the kingdom of God. With all of the modern emphasis on being born again or born from above as the defining measure of eternal salvation, in reality, the concept of being born from above is that of spiritual birth into the kingdom of God.

The apostle Paul also recognized and conveyed this truth in almost the same fashion:

1 Corinthians 15:50 – I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

The perishable (this flesh) cannot inherit a spiritual reality. Only the spiritual reality is undying and eternal; everything we can see, all kingdoms and rulerships on this earth, pass away.

2 Corinthians 4:18 – as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

We, however, are not receiving or inheriting a kingdom in this world. No, our kingdom and citizenship in another place.

Hebrews 12:22, 27-28 – Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels, a festive gathering, … This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what can be shaken ​– ​that is, created things ​– ​so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe…

The kingdom cannot be shaken because it is not of this physical creation.

Yeshua clearly lays out that God’s kingdom, the kingdom of which has been given to him, is a spiritual kingdom, not a natural one.

John 18:36-37 – “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”
“You are a king then? ” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Yeshua made it clear that the kingdom of God would not be an observable one with the eyes, someplace that you could see or visit in the flesh. Even then, the kingdom of God was already beginning to become evident during the ministry of Messiah:

Luke 17:20-21 – Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; “no one will say, ‘See here! ‘ or ‘There! ‘ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

This was because people were becoming born again and beginning to populate this spiritual kingdom at that time.

Luke 16:16 – “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.

There has never been a design for the spiritual kingdom of God to become its own physical representation in this reality, but for the outworking of the principles of this spiritual kingdom to be worked out through the societies and kingdoms of this world.

Revelation 11:15-17 – The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.
The twenty-four elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell facedown and worshiped God, saying, We give you thanks, Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign.

As we yield to the rulership of the God of the Bible and his Messiah, we live in the outworking of his kingdom in this reality, establishing his rule and reign within the kingdom of this world. This what born again people do, because they draw their life from there. This is who we are as believers in Messiah.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The brightly lit fire of self-discipline

We must be vigilant over our own actions to remain fruitful and effective for God in the work that he has laid out for us.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

The apostle Paul was writing this to his young protégé, Timothy, in the wider context of reminding him of his spiritual heritage, and to encourage him that he is up to the task of being a leader among the congregations that Paul had been instrumental in establishing throughout Asia.

This “sound judgment” that Paul mentions is a word that also means self-control, self-discipline, and prudence. One of the clear earmarks of the Spirit of God’s influence in our lives is discipline and self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.

In writing to Timothy, Paul implies that the intensity of the outworking of the Spirit in the life of the believer is partially dependent on the believer’s participation and focus.

Albert Barnes contributes the following thoughts on Paul’s instruction to Timothy:

“The original word used here denotes the kindling of a fire, as by bellows, etc. It is not uncommon to compare piety to a flame or a fire, and the image is one that is obvious when we speak of causing that to burn more brightly. The idea is, that Timothy was to use all proper means to keep the flame of pure religion in the soul burning, and more particularly his zeal in the great cause to which he had been set apart. The agency of man himself is needful to keep the religion of the heart warm and glowing. However rich the gifts which God has bestowed upon us, they do not grow of their own accord, but need to be cultivated by our own personal care.”

Timothy was tasked with a great many responsibilities, and through them all Paul is encouraging him to remain vigilant, to watch carefully, to be circumspect in all things so that his work can be effective and fruitful.

2 Timothy 4:2, 5 – Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. … But as for you, exercise vigilance in everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

It is necessary to exercise vigilance and self-control in all things, otherwise we are no better than a city without walls; i.e., we have no defenses against danger.

Proverbs 25:28 – Like a city broken down without walls is a man without restraint over his spirit!

If we are reminded to continually kindle the Spirit of God’s influence within us into a larger flame, we can stand against any onslaught that may confront us. We must be vigilant over our own actions to remain fruitful and effective for God in the work that he has laid out for us in the ongoing establishment of his kingdom on the earth.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive at https://core-of-the-bible.simplecast.com/ or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube! Just getting started, but new videos will be added regularly on many different topics, find us at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvR_aNEyA7WEZJtF4B8fZ6g

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.