Reading for Today: Job 17:1–18:21


Reading for Today:

Job 17:1–18:21
Psalm 95:1-5
Proverbs 23:1-3
Romans 12:1-21
Notes:

Psalm 95:1 Rock of our salvation. This metaphor for God was especially appropriate in this psalm, which refers (vv. 8, 9) to the water that came from the rock in the wilderness (Ex. 17:1–7; Num. 20:1–13; 1 Cor. 10:4).

Psalm 95:3 the great King above all gods. This is a poetic way of denying the existence of other gods (96:5), which existed only as statues, not persons (Jer. 10:1–10).

Psalm 95:4 deep places of the earth. This refers to the depths of the seas, valleys, and caverns, and contrasts with the hills. The point (v. 5) is that God was not a local god like the imaginary gods of the heathens, usually put up in high places, but the universal Creator and Ruler of the whole earth.

Romans 12:1 present your bodies a living sacrifice. Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of dead animals. But because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, the Old Testament sacrifices are no longer of any effect (Heb. 9:11, 12). For those in Christ, the only acceptable worship is to offer themselves completely to the Lord. Under God’s control, the believer’s yet unredeemed body can and must be yielded to Him as an instrument of righteousness. reasonable service. “Reasonable” is from the Greek for “logic.” In light of all the spiritual riches believers enjoy solely as the fruit of God’s mercies (Rom. 11:33, 36), it logically follows that they owe God their highest form of service. Understood here is the idea of priestly, spiritual service, which was such an integral part of Old Testament worship.

Romans 12:2 do not be conformed. “Conformed” refers to assuming an outward expression that does not reflect what is really inside, a kind of masquerade or act. The word’s form implies that Paul’s readers were already allowing this to happen and must stop. this world. Better translated, “age,” which refers to the system of beliefs, values—or the spirit of the age—at any time current in the world. This sum of contemporary thinking and values forms the moral atmosphere of our world and is always dominated by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4). transformed. The Greek word, from which the English word “metamorphosis” comes, connotes a change in outward appearance. Matthew uses the same word to describe the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2). Just as Christ briefly and in a limited way displayed outwardly His inner, divine nature and glory at the Transfiguration, Christians should outwardly manifest their inner, redeemed natures, not once, however, but daily (2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 5:18). renewing of your mind. That kind of transformation can occur only as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation of Scripture (Ps. 119:11; Col. 1:28; 3:10, 16; Phil. 4:8). The renewed mind is one saturated with and controlled by the Word of God.

DAY 13: How has God gifted believers to fulfill His purposes?

Romans 12:6–8 describes the general categories of spiritual gifts. These come to us “according to the grace…given”—undeserved and unmerited. The gift itself (1 Cor. 12:4), the specific way in which it is used (1 Cor. 12:5), and the spiritual results (1 Cor. 12:6) are all sovereignly chosen by the Spirit completely apart from personal merit (1 Cor. 12:11).

“Prophecy.” This Greek word means “speaking forth” and does not necessarily include prediction of the future or any other mystical or supernatural aspects. Although some prophets in Acts did make predictions of future events (11:27, 28; 21:10, 11), others made no predictions but spoke the truth of God to encourage and strengthen their hearers (15:32; vv. 22–31). The evidence does suggest, however, that in the first century, before the New Testament was complete and the sign gifts had ceased (1 Cor. 13:8; 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:3, 4), this word may have had both nonrevelatory and revelatory facets. In its nonrevelatory sense, the word “prophecy” simply identifies the skill of public proclamation of the word of God (1 Cor. 14:3, 24, 25; 1 Pet. 4:11).“In proportion to our faith.” Literally, “the faith,” or the fully revealed message or body of Christian faith (Jude 3; 2 Tim. 4:2). The preacher must be careful to preach the same message the apostles delivered.

“Ministry” (v. 7). From the same Greek word as “deacon” comes from, it refers to those who serve. This gift, similar to the gift of helps (1 Cor. 12:28), has broad application to include every kind of practical help (Acts 20:35; 1 Cor. 12:28). “Teaching.” The ability to interpret, clarify, systematize, and explain God’s truth clearly (Acts 18:24, 25; 2 Tim. 2:2). Pastors must have the gift of teaching (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:16); but many mature, qualified laymen also have this gift. This differs from preaching (prophecy), not in content, but in the unique skill for public proclamation.

“Exhortation” (v. 8).The gift which enables a believer to effectively call others to obey and follow God’s truth. It may be used negatively to admonish and correct regarding sin (2 Tim. 4:2) or positively to encourage, comfort, and strengthen struggling believers (2 Cor. 1:3–5; Heb. 10:24, 25). “Gives, with liberality.” This denotes the sacrificial sharing and giving of one’s resources and self to meet the needs of others (2 Cor. 8:3–5, 9; 11; Eph. 4:28). The believer who gives with a proper attitude does not do so for thanks and personal recognition, but to glorify God (Matt. 6:2; Acts 2:44, 45; 4:37–5:11; 2 Cor. 8:2–5). “Leads.” Literally, “standing before.” Paul calls this gift “administrations” (1 Cor. 12:28), a word that means “to guide” and is used of the person who steers a ship (Acts 27:11; Rev. 18:17). Again, the church’s leaders must exercise this gift, but it is certainly not limited to them. “Shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” One who actively shows sympathy and sensitivity to those in suffering and sorrow and who has both the willingness and the resources to help lessen their afflictions. Frequently, this gift accompanies the gift of exhortation. This attitude is crucial to ensure that the gift of mercy becomes a genuine help, not a discouraging commiseration with those who are suffering (Prov. 14:21, 31; Luke 4:18, 19).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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