Update 301


The New Testament

On July 7, 2007, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “The New Testament.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

Back to top

Never Give Up!

by Michael Link

How strongly are we committed to the truth and God’s way of life?  We may sometimes have that feeling of quitting, having doubt or a lack of faith, and that kind of thinking could even bring us to the point of giving up.  We have to be careful that we don’t think that way. 

In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Christ talks about the parable of the sower.  In verse 19 He states, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”

We must be diligent in understanding the truth, and we do that by studying God’s Word and asking God for His wisdom and understanding.  Satan the devil is very eager to draw us away from God’s truth, and He loves it when we stumble. 

Instead, we are to be joyful when we hear God’s Word (verse 20).  The key is that we remain joyful and enthusiastic about God’s way of life, lest we drift away, due to various trials in our lives.  Verse 21 states, “… yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” 

Christ also describes a category of people who do know the truth but are still attached to the world in some way:  “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (verse 22).  We cannot serve God and mammon  (Matthew 6:24).  Being caught up in the world is a huge distraction from God’s way of life, and therefore, it is impossible to bear fruit.  In verse 23 Christ states: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

We must also come to the realization that we, as converted Christians, were predestined to be called, and we were chosen for this life, to know God’s truth and His law.  God has called us out of this world to a potential better life that is to come in the near future.  With this understanding that we have, we must act on it, and we will be blessed far more than we can ever imagine.

Back to top

Prepare for Terrorism!

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 2:

“As British police step up the hunt for terror suspects after thwarted bomb attacks in London and Glasgow, German commentators assess the risks for all of Europe, debate how much civil liberties should be curtailed and give their verdict on Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s difficult first few days in office… Interior Minister Jacqui Smith, only days into her new job, warned of the ‘serious and sustained threat of terrorism,’ and Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the threat would be ‘long-term and sustained’ but insisted that the country would not be cowed by the terror plot. ‘We will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life,’ he said in a televised interview on Sunday. He added that he believed the attacks were linked with al-Qaida in some way…

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

“‘The attackers have succeeded in one thing: They have shocked the West, with the fact that the exact same barbaric methods that the al-Qaida network has employed in Iraq and Afghanistan, have now been exported to Great Britain and most likely elsewhere. Still, the thwarted attacks in Great Britain are not enough of a reason to give German security officials even more powers. Despite the British secret service’s much greater powers, they were still clueless about the plans for the attacks…’

“The conservative Die Welt writes:

“‘In the long run we can’t avoid (terror). Ducking down will be of little use. It would be wise to be mentally prepared for the moment of truth. And with a hint of the almost heroic calm with which the citizens of Britain react to the string of threats…

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

“‘It would be a dangerous mistake to see the attempted attacks as an exclusively British concern… German security officials recently publicized a warning, and some people accused them of alarmism and spreading panic. This charge is unjustified and foolish. It undermines the vigilance that free societies need to muster in the face of these kinds of threats. Gordon Brown has already given the most important answer: We will not allow ourselves be intimidated. We — that is not just the English, Scots and Welsh, but Europeans and all those who feel they belong to the “West.” Because that is the target of this murderous Islamism. Placation and contrite self criticism, for example because of an allegedly incorrect foreign policy, will not stop them'”…

“The financial daily Handelsblatt writes:

“‘It’s not just the British, but all of us in Europe, who have to learn to live with this threat. And there are two challenges facing us. One has to do with the question of how our legal systems should be adjusted… The second challenge is easier: to go on living our lives in the usual way. In London people were back in the discos on Friday night. In Glasgow people dragged their suitcases to the planes and flew off on their holidays. There is no other way. That is how we show the extremists just how futile their blood thirst is.'”

The Bible warns all of us that “perilous times” will come (2 Timothy 3:1), and that “The sword shall destroy outside [while there] shall be terror within” (Deuteronomy 32:25). But we also have the promise that God will protect us from the terror by night (Psalm 91:5), when we make God our refuge (verse 9). See the inspiring message on this subject in the section on “Prayer Updates and Requests.”

Interesting Assessment

The UK’s Daily Telegraph wrote on July 1:

“The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God’s judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops. One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.

“While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation’s decision to ignore biblical teaching.

“… Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle… who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman empire as a result of its immorality. ‘We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate,’ he said.

“‘In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as “the beast”, which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want,’ he said, adding that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage… He urged people to respond to the latest floods by turning away from a lifestyle of greed to instead live thinking of the consequences of their actions…

“‘People no longer see natural disasters as an act of God,’ said… James Jones [Bishop of Liverpool]. ‘However, we are now reaping what we have sown…’

“… The Bishops’ warnings came as flood-hit communities were being warned to brace themselves for more torrential rain…”
Especially the American and British people are warned by God not to forsake His way. God prophesied that if they disobeyed Him in these end times, many curses would befall them (compare Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68). For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.” In order to find out HOW we are to please God and obey Him, please read our free booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…

President Bush’s Continuing Downfall

When one thinks, it could not get much worse for President Bush’s approval rate inside and outside the USA… well, it can. Bush’s comments after his recent meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and his saving Libby from prison have not helped to improve his reputation one iota. What is worse, it has not helped to bring back a positive American prestige around the world. Please note the next two articles in this issue.

Bush’s Controversial Praise for Putin

The Associated Press reported on July 3:

“After hearing scathing criticism of the U.S. and its foreign policy from his Russian counterpart for months, President Bush praised President Vladimir Putin for his truthfulness and frankness… Bush’s support for Putin drew puzzlement from Russia scholars, who say the Russian president is being rewarded for behavior that the West should be discouraging.

“‘Here’s the thing, when you’re dealing with a world leader, you wonder whether or not he’s telling the truth,’ Bush told reporters Monday. ‘I’ve never had to worry about that with Vladimir Putin. Sometimes he says things I don’t want to hear, but I know he’s always telling me the truth.’

“Later, Putin seemed to equate Russia’s record on human rights and press freedom — both widely criticized — with that of the United States… Bush did not react to the evident comparison…

“Michael McFaul, an expert on Russia at Stanford University, said he welcomes talks between the two leaders, but is puzzled by how easily the White House forgave and forgot Putin’s harsh rhetoric. ‘He says all this, and for that he gets invited to a special event,’ McFaul said. ‘It’s better that they’re cooperating than when Putin threatens the United States as if we were Nazi Germany. But suddenly we’re buddies riding in the boat … I don’t get it.’

“Speaking of Putin’s comparison between Russia’s political system and that of the U.S., McFaul, an expert in how democratic societies develop, said that Putin ‘has probably rolled back democracy further than any other world leader during Bush’s presidency.’

“Sarah Mendelson, a Russia scholar with the Center for Strategic and International Relations in Washington, said she, too, was surprised by Bush’s comments that he found Putin to be honest and forthright. ‘The last thing I would expect to hear anyone say about the Putin administration is, truth, trust, comfort,’ said Mendelson…

“Western experts have criticized the Kremlin for establishing control of most of Russia’s major television stations, which now rarely air critical voices. Mendelson said the Kremlin has failed to investigate the suspicious deaths of journalists.”

President Bush’s praise for Vladimir Putin is indeed hard to understand. Putin has shown himself to be a ruthless and uncompromising advocate of totalitarian supremacy of the Russian government, brutally suppressing any opposition, with the obvious attempt to enlarge Russian hegemony over former “Soviet satellite states.”

Bush Commutes Libby’s Jail Term

AFP reported on July 3:

“US President George W. Bush commuted a 30 month jail term imposed on a former top White House aide for lying to federal investigators, sparking outrage from opposition Democrats…

“Libby, who was a trusted aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, still faces a 250,000 dollar fine and a two-year probation after being convicted in March of perjury and obstructing justice. Libby was found guilty of lying to federal investigators in a case probing whether White House officials had leaked the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. It was alleged that Plame’s cover as a CIA agent was deliberately leaked to the media and blown in July 2003 to avenge criticism of the war by her husband, ex-diplomat Joseph Wilson, after the invasion.

“Libby, 56, was found guilty of lying about conversations he had with reporters about Plame, but not of actually leaking her name. Bush’s decision came after a US judge ordered on June 14 that Libby had to go to jail… The move provoked a slew of reactions along political lines…

“Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who brought the Libby case, disputed Bush’s view that the sentence was ‘excessive,’ stressing that Libby ‘remains convicted by a jury of serious felonies, and we will continue to seek to preserve those convictions through the appeals process.’ …

“Wilson, who angered the White House 2003 by publicly disputing the administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium from Niger to build nuclear weapons, said Bush had ‘subverted’ US justice. ‘By commuting the sentence I think the president raises the real suspicion that he’s party to the obstruction of justice or the cover up of the original crime,’ Wilson told CNN television. Wilson, who with his wife is suing Libby and other administration officials for exposing his wife’s identity, effectively ending her career, said he still believes Vice President Cheney was behind her outing.”

According to US press releases and comments on American TV, Bush might have acted in the way he did, as he had nothing to lose. It was stated that his approval rate of the American people was so bad–without any real hope for improvement–that he might as well have done what he wanted to do. A televised press conference with Bush’s spokesman Tony Snow on Tuesday morning did not help much to calm the waves. Repeatedly confronted and pressed by outspoken journalists, Snow did little to “explain” the President’s decision, except to say that he had the power to do so. He even left open the possibility that Libby might be completely pardoned in the future–even though, according to a recent poll, about 70 percent of the American people are opposed to a full pardon.

After the recent circus surrounding Paris Hilton’s jail term, the impression–especially outside the USA–is being given more and more that there ARE different standards for special people in the American legal system. None of this will help to regain American prestige in the world.

The Price to Pay for Afghanistan and Iraq

On July 3, 2007, thefirstpost.co.uk stated the following:

“The US is considering introducing a limited military draft if it is to keep its present force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pentagon advisers have warned British colleagues. Next month, US forces in Iraq will peak at around 170,000, and GIs in the new units are being told they could be on operations for at least 15 months.

“Over Memorial Day weekend, Americans have been faced by the grim statistic that in the year since the last Memorial Day, very nearly 1,000 US military have been killed in Iraq, and many more wounded. These are the worst casualty rates since the coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003…

“To mix a metaphor, both the Americans and the British seem caught in a drifting impasse now in Iraq. They cannot go forward, nor suddenly pull out, for fear of triggering a major regional war – for which all the combustible ingredients are in place. Both London and Washington face the issue of forces and equipment reaching exhaustion point by this time next year…

“The question for Britain now is whether Gordon Brown will follow the messianic policy laid down by Tony Blair, or cut loose… The question is more than intriguing. It could be vital, and a lifesaver for our forces.”

The real crux of the issue is, are our wars pleasing to God? Should we try to better the world through the means of war? The answer might surprise you. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?”

Axis of Unity Against the USA

Reuters reported on July 2:

“The presidents of Iran and Venezuela launched construction of a joint petrochemical plant [in Iran] on Monday, strengthening an ‘axis of unity’ between two oil-rich nations staunchly opposed to the United States…

“Chavez, who last week pushed two U.S. oil giants [Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips] out of his country as part of his self-styled socialist revolution, said: ‘This is the unity of the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean Sea.’ Iranian officials said a second methanol plant would be set up in Venezuela… That would help Iran to access the Latin American market, while Venezuela would get closer to buyers in India and Pakistan.”

U.S. Dollar Weakest Since 26 Years

The Associated Press reported on July 2:

“The dollar fell to a 26-year low against the British pound Monday ahead of an expected rate hike by the Bank of England later this week. The pound rose to $2.0173 — its highest level versus the dollar since June 1981 — in New York trading before retreating to $2.0165. The dollar also dropped to within a cent of its all-time low versus the euro, as rising global interest rates made the currency less attractive to investors. The 13-nation euro rose to $1.3637, just shy of its April 27 all-time high of $1.3682, before dipping back to $1.3623…
“The dollar has been especially weak for so many months, it’s difficult to put a finger on a single catalyst for Monday’s losses, said David Solin, a partner at Foreign Exchange Analytics in Essex, Conn… The euro climbed after German industry group VDMA reported that new orders for the country’s machinery industry rose by 18 percent in May from a year earlier. Germany is the euro zone’s largest economy… The dollar slipped against the yen… In other trading, the dollar bought 1.0562 Canadian dollars, down from 1.0626, and 1.2103 Swiss francs, dropping from 1.2219.”

The Tom Cruise Circus — Ongoing Persecution in Germany…

 Der Spiegel Online reported on July 3:

“You might think the city [of Berlin] would be delighted that a Hollywood superstar wanted to make a film about the German resistance, but not, it seems, if that star is Tom Cruise, a well-known Scientologist. Cruise is to star as Claus von Stauffenberg, who planned an assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944 and was executed after the plot failed. The film, ‘Valkyrie,’ is to start shooting soon, but things are not going according to plan for the star.

“The latest setback for the toothsome heartthrob is the refusal of the Berlin Police Department to allow him to shoot at one of their properties in the city. The police had ‘intensively examined the application and have come to the conclusion that the adverse effects for the services that operate on the premises would be so serious that we cannot approve the application…’

“This is the second key location to have denied the star. Cruise has already been refused permission to shoot at the Bendlerblock, a government building in central Berlin, where Stauffenberg hatched the July 20 plot and where he and several others were executed after it failed. At first the Berlin studio shooting the film dismissed earlier comments by the German Defence Ministry that it could not shoot at the location, saying it had the necessary permit. But the Finance Ministry has the final word and on Monday it confirmed that it was ‘no.'”

In an unbelievable attempt to gloss over the true reasons for the denial (that is, that Tom Cruise is a member of Scientology–a fact which has been widely reported in the German press), the magazine quoted Ministry spokesman Stefan Olbermann as insisting “‘that the decision had nothing to do with Scientology. He explained to Reuters that another film had been shot at the Bendlerblock, which is also a memorial site, and that experience had led the ministry to bar all film shoots on the site.”

However, to get the record straight, the magazine was anxious to point out:

“There is nevertheless a clear distrust of Cruise’s religious beliefs in Germany. While Scientology is accepted as a religion in the United States, in Germany it is seen as a money-making cult which puts pressure on defectors and is involved in dubious real estate deals.”

Germany’s somewhat paranoid conduct has resulted in a storm of angry criticism from abroad and within Germany itself. The magazine explained:

“The American press has reacted harshly to… Germany’s frosty welcome for one of their own. ‘We say, what better way to recall the Nazi era than by denying a man work due to his beliefs,’ commented the Philadelphia Daily News. And there has been some criticism from closer to home too. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the German director of the Oscar-winning film ‘The Lives of Others,’ criticized the ‘circus’ surrounding the filming permits in Berlin.

“‘Just as Stauffenberg and his accomplices were still regarded as un-German traitors of the fatherland after the war, so today the biggest star of the victorious nation is not good enough to play our hero Stauffenberg if the star’s personal beliefs don’t match the current mood in Germany,’ he writes in Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. And he sees the film as a big opportunity for Germany itself, writing that Cruise playing Stauffenberg ‘would do more to improve Germany’s image than 10 soccer World Cups.'”

“Things Are Very Bad in Europe”

The Catholic News Agency (CNA) wrote on June 28:

“The president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Dr. Jose Maria Simon, said this week med students can obtain gynecology degrees without having to perform abortions in four countries in Europe—Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.
“… Simon told Europa Press that in Spain, ‘although it is difficult, it is still possible to find a place that accepts residents who don’t practice abortions.’  That is not the case in France, Switzerland, Germany or Austria, where the ‘normal’ thing is for students to be required to practice abortions.  ‘Things are very bad in Europe,’ he insisted.

“On the other hand… ‘Pregnant women in Spain receive practically no financial help.  If a pregnant immigrant who is alone shows up at a clinic she gets asked practically nothing and she is given a pass to have an abortion.  This happens and happens often,’ Simon said. [He] noted that there are more and more women who want to be seen by a doctor who follows the Magisterium of the [Catholic] Church… He pointed to a study that shows that in the United States, there are 10 times more women who would go to such a gynecologist but who can’t because they are hard to find.”

Incredible European Attack on God and the Bible

On June 8, 2007, The Committee on Culture, Science and Education of the Council of Europe filed a report, which had been drafted on May 31, 2007, in support of a proposed European law defending the evolution theory and attacking anything and everybody who dares to question that theory. The report includes incredibly hostile and accusatory language somewhat reminiscent of witchcraft trials in the Middle Ages. Please note the following excerpts, taken from the report, as published on www.assembly.coe.int.

The “summary” at the beginning of the report states the following:

“The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth… The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline.”

Additional intolerant and ignorant statements can be found in the main text of the report, named, “draft resolution,” as follows:

“The Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist theories within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights, which are a key concern of the Council of Europe… The prime target of present-day creationists, most of whom are Christian or Muslim, is education…  The theory of evolution has nothing to do with divine revelation but is built on facts… The war on the theory of evolution and on its proponents most often originates in forms of religious extremism which are closely allied to extreme right-wing political movements. The creationist movements possess real political power… the advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy… If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council’s parliamentarians to react before it is too late.”

Finally, the conclusions and admissions of the report are truly breathtaking–showing THE DEGREE OF FOOLISHNESS IN THE EYES OF GOD, and HOW FAR this sophisticated God-denying and God-defying world has strayed from true Biblical knowledge:

“… the denial of evolution is particularly harmful to children’s education… The creationists are in fact supporters of a radical return to the past, which could prove particularly harmful in the long term for all our societies… evolution pervades all medical research… the ‘scientific’ approach adopted by the creationists to put forward and support their ideas is itself a particularly dangerous instrument of mental manipulation… The truth and scientific nature of evolution remain irrefutable today… The theory of evolution constitutes a body of fundamental knowledge for the future of our democracies and cannot be arbitrarily challenged… It is important to point out that the theory of evolution has had a profound effect on science in general, philosophy, religion and many other aspects of human society (for example, agriculture).

“Evolution has also entered the field of psychology: evolutionist psychology is a field of psychology that aims to explain the mechanisms of human thought on the basis of the theory of biological evolution. It is based on the fundamental hypothesis that the brain, like all the other organs, is the result of evolution and thus constitutes an adaptation to specific environmental constraints, to which the ancestors of the Hominidae were forced to respond… There can be no doubt that [creationism] is a serious attack on human rights…  The teaching of evolution by natural selection as a fundamental scientific theory is therefore crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies…”

In spite of these repeated unspecified and generalized “assertions” in support of evolution, the SCIENTIFIC TRUTH is that the theory of evolution has NOT been proven scientifically; that is CANNOT be proven scientifically, as it is FUNDAMENTALLY flawed, and that RENOWN SCIENTISTS concur that the theory of evolution is NOT scientifically provable or even scientifically accurate. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Theory of Evolution–A Fairy Tale for Adults.” In addition, insofar as ongoing religious persecution in Europe is concerned, which we can expect to continue and grow worse, please read our free booklets, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”

Saltwater As Clean Fuel?

On June 1, wkyc-tv.com reported the following:

“Retired TV station owner and broadcast engineer, John Kanzius, wasn’t looking for an answer to the energy crisis. He was looking for a cure for cancer. Four years ago, inspiration struck in the middle of the night. Kanzius decided to try using radio waves to kill the cancer cells… Here are the basics of John’s idea:

“Radio-waves will heat certain metals. Tiny bits of certain metal are injected into a cancer patient. Those nano-particles are attracted to the abnormalities of the cancer cells and ignore the healthy cells. The patient is then exposed to radio waves and only the bad cells heat up and die.

“But John also came across yet another extraordinary breakthrough. His machine could actually make saltwater burn. [He] discovered that his radio frequency generator could release the oxygen and hydrogen from saltwater and create an incredibly intense flame… The APV Company Laboratory in Akron has checked out John’s amazing invention. They were amazed. ‘That could be a steam engine, a steam turbine. That could be a car engine if you wanted it to be.’

“Imagine the possibilities. Saltwater as the ultimate clean fuel. A happy byproduct of one man searching for the cure for cancer.”

Back to top

What does the Bible mean when it says that we are to grow in the grace of God?

The Scriptural passage in question is found in 2 Peter 3:17-18, which reads:

“… beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Grace has been commonly understood as unmerited pardon–especially in connection with the forgiveness of sin. God forgives us our sins, not because we deserve to be forgiven, but because of Christ’s sacrifice. However, the Greek word for “grace” conveys a much broader concept than just the “unmerited pardoning of sins.”

Notice, in this context, Paul’s warning in Romans 6:1-2, 15: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? Certainly not… What then? Shall we sin because we are… under grace? Certainly not!”

We are not to “grow” in grace, by sinning, so that we can receive more and more forgiveness or unmerited pardon. Just the opposite is true. 1 Peter 4:1 tells us: “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

What, then, is meant with the statement: “Grow in the grace… of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”?

The commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown emphasizes that we are to “GROW” in His grace, stating, “Not only do not ‘fall from’ [verse 17], but grow onward: the true secret of not going backward. Eph. 4:15, ‘Grow up into Him, the Head, Christ.'”

The Greek word for “grace,” “charis,” is defined by Strong’s Concordance of the Bible (G 5485) as, “acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).”

According to Young’s Concordance to the Bible, the Greek word “charis” can also have the meaning of “graciousness,” and points out that the Authorized Version translates the Greek word “charis” also as “grace,” “benefit,” “favor,” liberality,” “pleasure,” and “thanks.” The Greek word “charisma” is derived from the word, “charis,” and means, “gift.”

As we have seen, one important definition of “charis,” or “grace,” then, is “favor.” We are to grow in the favor of God, by continually overcoming our own selves, the world and Satan. Even Jesus, when He was here on earth, increased or grew in favor — or grace — with God and men (compare Luke 2:52).

In addition, we read that Mary found “favor” or “grace” in the eyes of God (Luke 1:30; compare Luke 1:28); and so did David (Acts 7:45-46). We are told that the early apostles and disciples had “favor” or “grace” with all the people (Acts 2:47). Likewise, Joseph received “favor” or “grace” and “wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh” (Acts 7:10).

Barnes explains that “religion in general is often represented as ‘grace,’ since every part of it is the result of grace, or of unmerited favor; and to ‘grow in grace’ is to increase in that which constitutes true religion.”

Gill states that the meaning of growing in grace is growing in “the gifts of grace, which, under a divine blessing, may be increased by using them: gifts neglected decrease, but stirred up and used, are improved and increase.”

This explanation has merit, considering that it is through grace (“charis”), that gifts (“charisma”) are bestowed on us.

Clarke explains the passage, “to grow in the grace… of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” as follows:

“Increase in the image and favor of God; every grace and Divine influence which ye have received is a seed, a heavenly seed, which, if it be watered with the dew of heaven from above, will endlessly increase and multiply itself. He who continues to believe, love, and OBEY, will grow in grace, and continually increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, as his sacrifice, sanctifier, counsellor, preserver, and final Savior. The life of a Christian is a growth; he is at first [begotten] of God, and is a little child; becomes a young man, and a father in Christ. Every father was once an infant; and had he not grown, he would have never been a man. Those who content themselves with the grace they received when converted to God, are, at best, in a continual state of infancy: but we find, in the order of nature, that the infant that does not grow, and grow daily, too, is sickly and soon dies; so, in the order of grace, those who do not grow up into Jesus Christ are sickly, and will soon die, die to all sense and influence of heavenly things. There are many who boast of the grace of their conversion; persons who were never more than babes, and have long since lost even that grace, because they did not grow in it. Let him that readeth understand.”

Similar statements are made by William Barclay, in his commentary on 2 Peter. He writes:

“The Christian is a man with a developing life… The Christian must daily experience the wonder of grace, and daily grow in the gifts which grace can bring.”

A good explanation of the passage can also be found in the “Life Application Bible”:

“Peter concludes this brief letter as he began, by urging his readers to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ–to get to know him better and better. This is the most important step in refuting false teachers. No matter where we are in our spiritual journey, no matter how mature we are in our faith, the sinful world always will challenge our faith. We still have much room for growth. If every day we find some way to draw closer to Christ, we will be prepared to stand for truth in any and all circumstances.”

Only if we grow in the grace of Jesus, can we properly handle the knowledge that He imparts to us. That is why we must receive and grow in both His grace and His knowledge. We are to grow in graciousness and kindness, as well as in favor with God, and we must grow in the knowledge of Who He really is, what His character is like, and how He lives. Christ is described as the “only begotten of the Father, FULL of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

But we also read that we can share in His grace (John 1:16-17)–we can all become more gracious and loving persons, willing to sacrifice our time, effort or money for the benefit and well-being of others. As James explains: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27; compare 2 Peter 3:11, 14).

We ARE to grow in the GRACE of Jesus Christ–in His FAVOR toward us, due to an obedient lifestyle which is pleasing to Him–as well as in the acquisition of His GRACIOUSNESS; of His willingness to bestow GIFTS on others; and of Christ’s desire–which is to become our desire–to help others in need. But we also need to grow in His KNOWLEDGE so that we can know how to live a Christian life of giving and sharing, and how and when to bestow gracious favors and gifts on others.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Back to top

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Last week, Norbert Link video-recorded a sermon to be played at the Feast sites in the UK and the USA. It is intended to make the sermon available, on DVD, to interested scattered brethren around the world.

A new member letter has been written. In the letter, Norbert Link shows what GOD has done within and through the Church of the Eternal God during its six years of corporate existence, in collaboration with its affiliates in the UK and Canada, and encourages all of us to continue to go forward together to fulfill the great commission that God has given us.

We sent out the following announcement regarding our StandingWatch program #127:

Europe is MAD with Poland and Britain

Europe has agreed on a new treaty, resurrecting in substance its  former proposed Constitution, but only after much disagreement and hostilities. The main offenders of European unity were viewed as Poland and Britain, while the British people are upset with Tony Blair’s perceived surrender of British sovereignty to Brussels. How WILL Europe ultimately unite, and will this be good or bad news for the world?

View it now on Google.

Back to top

Community and Compassion

by Aaron Hooper (22)

As Americans, we find ourselves in such a busy world that we never see the same face twice. As a result of our high-paced, technologically advanced society, most people have lost their sense of community and compassion. This is a world where one must be cautious of being helped by a complete stranger because it is impossible to know what their motives are.

Such was the case when I helped a middle-aged woman to the gas station to fix her flat tire. She asked, “Why are you helping me?” I had not known her prior to the encounter and she could not figure out why I was so willing to help her. I explained to her that I was simply doing what I thought was right. Unfortunately, she had sustained terrible injuries as a result of domestic abuse. It was even difficult for her to walk. She had since left that person, but her outlook on people in general had forever changed.

The people of this world are subject to the many horrors that man has conceived. As a result, no one is to be trusted and the sense of community and compassion for the fellow person is all but gone.

In God’s Church, we are very fortunate to enjoy the sense of community, compassion and belonging that our society is lacking. We are very blessed in this way as not every one is so fortunate. We are also very grateful in looking forward because of the awesome Kingdom that God will establish. A loving, compassionate community in which everyone can participate and belong. A place where the rest of the world will be able to learn what God’s way of life is all about.

Back to top

How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God