December 1, 2017
My Calling; The Wrath of God
On December 2, 2017, Eric Rank will present the sermonette, titled, “My Calling,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “The Wrath of God.”
The live services are available, over video and audio, at http://eternalgod.org/live-services/ (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Quitting Is Not an Option
by Michael Link
How often do we think about quitting? There may be situations in our lives which can become so difficult that we get to the point where we believe that the only option we have left is to simply quit. That is, quitting God’s Way of Life. Are problems so intense that we can’t overcome them? How often do we make mistakes in life? How often do we fail? Do we actually have a desire to succeed?
Michael Jordan, who is considered one of the best basketball players of all time, famously stated that through failure, he was able to become successful. He said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” He didn’t quit when things got difficult, but instead he became motivated to overcome his failings and made an effort to become the greatest that he could be. He also said, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”
Is this the kind of attitude we should have when it comes to our spiritual lives? The Bible gives us the answer in many different ways. Proverbs 10:4-5 tells us how to be productive. “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” It involves effort on our part, for we plan, but God directs (Proverbs 16:9).
We read many examples in the Bible of those who went through difficult times. God was always there to help in those situations, offering encouragement, strength, and patience. Often times, God will test our reactions when we go through a particular trial for the purpose of succeeding. The choice, however, is up to us, for God will not force us into obeying Him. He provides us with all the tools we need to live a righteous and fruitful life.
We will continue to face challenges, especially in the society we live in, as the majority of the people we are in contact with do not believe what we do. Some may tolerate or even respect our beliefs but they don’t agree with them. What we are doing today as part of God’s Church is what God commands us to do, by proclaiming the message of the Kingdom of God and being examples, even though many will not listen. But some will! That is why we need to keep going, through our obedient example, for we do not know who will respond to be saved from the end time’s devastation that is coming upon this world. In light of our desire to help others, do we have enough faith to overcome the trials and shortcomings that we go through, which is necessary for our success? (Compare Hebrews 11:32-34.)
No, quitting is not an option. We have a goal for which we are striving. “… I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
In addition, we also need to remain confident that with God’s help, we will succeed. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).
We must continue to be watchful and on guard as we keep moving forward. As times will get tougher, we will get stronger as we overcome, because it will all be worth it in the end.
by Norbert Link
We begin with the horrible terrorist attack in Egypt and the fight against terrorism in general which this world is clearly losing; and we speak on the arch-rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia; the media war between Russia and the USA; and further threats from North Korea.
We continue with Germany’s difficult struggle of forming a workable government and report at the same time of the continuing successful European endeavor to form an EU army.
Turning to the USA, while allegations of sexual misconduct don’t seem to end (NBC’s “icon” Matt Lauer being the latest in a long line of alleged perpetrators), we speak on Washington state’s complete lack of preparedness for a possible huge earthquake; the resurfacing question of Obama’s birthplace which could be one of the biggest scandals in the 21th century if it should be determined that Obama was never a legitimate President of the USA; address the scandal of the termination of 50 employees for their refusal to get flu vaccinations; and focus on another scandal about governmental agencies revoking professional licenses for failure to promptly repay student loans.
We conclude with an interesting article on so-called “cryptocurrency mania.”
Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.
This Week in the News
Unprecedented Mass Murder in Egypt
BBC News reported on November 25:
“[More than] 300 people were killed at a North Sinai mosque during Friday prayers…
“After bombs were set off, dozens of gunmen waiting outside the mosque opened fire on those trying to escape. The assailants reportedly set parked vehicles on fire in the vicinity to block off access to the building, and fired on ambulances trying to help victims. Thirty children are among the dead and at least 100 people have been wounded…
“Egyptian security forces have for years been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, and militants affiliated with so-called Islamic State (IS) have been behind scores of deadly attacks in the desert region… Locals say the al-Rawda mosque is used by the local Sawarka tribe, which is known to cooperate with the security services against militants. It is also known to be popular with worshippers of Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam that is condemned by some jihadist groups. The head of IS’s ‘religious police’ in Sinai said last December that Sufis who did not ‘repent’ would be killed, after the group beheaded two elderly men reported to be Sufi clerics.
“The number of victims is unprecedented for an attack of this type… this is the first time that worshippers inside a mosque have been targeted by militants in North Sinai… This is a major challenge to the Egyptian state…
“Journalists, including from state-sponsored outlets, have not been allowed to report from North Sinai in the last few years. Correspondents say that the frequency of attacks raises doubts about the effectiveness of military operations against militants…”
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 25:
“Egypt’s air force on Friday bombed ‘terrorist’ locations in the northern mountainous area around Bir al-Abed in response to the deadliest terror attack in the country’s history.’
Terrorism is a real threat which won’t go away. The fact that journalists have been prohibited from reporting on the threat in Northern Egypt does not give us much confidence. The claim that “we are winning the war against terrorism” is ludicrous. Note the next article.
The Global Threat of Terrorism
The Indian Express wrote on November 24:
“Terrorist networks like the ISIS and Al Qaeda may soon begin instructing recruits on how to create killer viruses just like bomb-making lessons, a senior European Union (EU) security expert has warned… terror networks based in the Middle East like Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), could begin using the internet to instruct on the use of biological agents…
“Tracing that the first edition of ‘Inspire’, Al Qaeda’s online propaganda magazine, had an article on ‘how to make a bomb in your mum’s kitchen… What if anyone will have a similar article on how to process a virus in your mum’s kitchen? Unfortunately, it’s probably easier than before for a lone actor to perpetrate an attack with catastrophic consequences’…”
Saudi Arabia vs. Iran
The Telegraph wrote on November 25:
“Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has called Iran’s supreme leader ‘the new Hitler of the Middle East’ and warned that as in European history, ‘appeasement doesn’t work’. In his first comments since a widespread anti-corruption purge Mohammad bin Salman fired his strongest criticism yet of Saudi Arabia’s regional arch-rival…”
No “sign” of a “king of the south.” Those who wait for one (because they misunderstand a prophecy in Daniel 11) might wait forever.
Media War Between USA and Russia Continues
NBC News wrote on November 25:
“Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill allowing Russia to register international media outlets as foreign agents — a move largely seen as retaliation against the U.S. for similar crackdowns on Kremlin-funded media outlets… The move is seen as a quid pro quo after U.S. officials demanded that state-media outlet Russia Today, or RT, register as a foreign agent with the U.S. Justice Department…
“Even before Putin signed the bill into law, Russia’s Justice Ministry warned U.S. government-funded outlets like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, along with its regional outlets, that they could be designated as foreign agents under the new law… Twitter has since banned RT, and Russian media outlet Sputnik from advertising on its platform…”
What did the USA expect? Such retaliation was to be certain.
North Korea’s New Threat
The New York Times wrote on November 29:
“North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday that flew both higher and longer than previous such launches, a bold act of defiance against President Trump after he put the country back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
“The president reacted cautiously to news of the launch, stating, ‘It is a situation that we will handle.’ But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis expressed greater concern, emphasizing what he said were technical advances on display in the 53-minute flight, which began when the missile was launched northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, and ended nearly 600 miles to the east, when it landed in the Sea of Japan… ‘The bottom line is, it’s a continued effort to build a threat — a ballistic missile threat that endangers world peace, regional peace, and certainly, the United States,’ the defense secretary said…
“David Wright, a scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile… exhibited a potential range of more than 8,000 miles, able to reach Washington or any other part of the continental United States…”
The Trump Administration announced Wednesday evening that further sanctions, including financial sanctions, will be imposed against North Korea. Many observers feel that these sanctions will be meaningless and won’t persuade the North Korean regime to cease and desist from its nuclear endeavors.
Express wrote on November 29:
“Speaking to the UN Security Council, [US ambassador Nikki] Haley said that ‘if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed’. She added: ‘We have never sought war with North Korea, and still today we do not seek it. If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday.’”
Is a Grand Coalition Coming in Germany?
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 25:
“Germany’s chancellor has said that it would be ‘simply wrong’ to hold new elections after coalition talks collapsed. Her statement came as rival Social Democrats reconsidered a second ‘grand coalition’ with her CDU…
“But Germany may still have to wait a while longer for a new government — on Saturday, SPD deputy leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel said that no decision on entering a second grand coalition would be made before the party’s national conference on December 7-9…”
Few Good Options?
AFP wrote on November 25:
“Merkel now faces few good options short of new elections: asking the SPD to enter a new ‘grand coalition’, or running a minority government…
“Polls show that, were Germany to stage an election re-run, results would be little different from September. If anything, it could see the AfD score an even more impressive result than it did the first time round.”
Merkel and Schulz under Pressure
The Associated Press wrote on November 26:
“On Sunday, the youth wing of Merkel’s Union bloc published a resolution stating that the conservatives must not enter a [grand] coalition [with the SPD] ‘at any price’…
“The Social Democrats… have made clear they would demand a high price for cooperating again with Merkel’s Union bloc. ‘As things stand, Merkel is not in a position in which she can set conditions,’ prominent Social Democrat Malu Dreyer [said].”
Deutsche Welle wrote on November 26:
“Merkel is not the only one facing internal pressure: Schulz also faced growing dissent within his party over his willingness to make a coalition with Merkel’s conservative bloc. The SPD’s youth branch, the Jusos, or ‘Young Socialists in the SPD,’ ended their two-day congress calling for their leaders to move more to the left rather than try out a new grand coalition… Other SPD leaders have also started setting conditions should the party enter into talks with Merkel’s conservatives…”
None of this looks good for Merkel, Schulz or a new German government. No wonder the ghost of Weimar begins to haunt some observers. Note the next article.
Any Successor to Merkel?
Foreign Policy wrote on November 28:
“Merkel is at her most nimble in high-stakes crises — doubly so when underestimated or threatened — and she has already persuaded Christian Democrats to rally behind her as she pursues a renewal of the coalition with Social Democrats that she has lead for the past four years.
“But there’s no guarantee that the Social Democrats’ base is in the mood to accept the necessary compromises — and even if it comes to fruition, another so-called grand coalition is unlikely to prove as stable as the previous iteration. Merkel’s coalition partners are apt to be more ornery, and the parliamentary opposition, which would be headed by the far-right Alternative for Germany party, far more disruptive. Meanwhile, CDU conservatives, long discontented with Merkel’s moderate style, are apt to loudly wonder why they should continue to follow her if she can’t guarantee election victories.
“In short, it’s now easier to imagine Merkel being toppled from power before the end of her coming four-year term. But that raises the principal question: Who would take over Germany’s most successful political party after her fall?… ‘The simple fact is there’s currently no one in the CDU placed to succeed Merkel,’ explained Alan Posener of the conservative daily Die Welt. ‘Over the years she’s overpowered and driven out a dozen rivals, mostly men who thought they’d make a better chancellor.’
“But the fact that there isn’t anyone right now with the credentials or will to take down Merkel doesn’t mean there aren’t ambitious figures in the CDU who could one day do so — and maybe even sooner rather than later. And, given the ailing state of the Social Democratic Party, whoever does replace Merkel as leader of her party will, more likely than not, also become leader of Europe’s most powerful country.”
That coming German leader does not have to belong to the CDU. In addition, Die Welt (cited above in the article) wrote on November 29 that Angela Merkel and others (including Martin Schulz and Bavaria’s Horst Seehofer) are “yesterday’s people,” and that Germany needs new leaders.
AfD Won because of Merkel?
AFP wrote on November 26:
“The far-right Alternative for Germany party sees Chancellor Angela Merkel’s struggle to form a new government as proof of its growing power to upend the country’s political order… The AfD campaigned on the slogan ‘Merkel must go’, railing against her decision to let in more than one million mainly Muslim asylum seekers since 2015… Its election score was nearly 13 percent, snatching millions of votes from the mainstream parties and entering parliament for the first time with almost 100 seats in the Bundestag lower house.
“Apart from the current political volatility, [Parliamentary group leader Alexander] Gauland sees the wind at the AFD’s back due to an announcement this month by one of Germany’s biggest employers, Siemens, that it was slashing nearly 7,000 jobs globally. The industrial giant plans to close its sites in Goerlitz and Leipzig, both in the eastern state of Saxony which the AfD won outright in September. ‘That will probably help the AfD,’ Gauland said of the layoffs…
“[Gauland said:] ‘I have always been sceptical of solidarity pacts with parties that are supposedly similar… An exception though is the FPOe,’ Gauland added, citing ‘cultural’ ties with the Austrian far-right party now in talks to join a ruling coalition…”
The Guardian wrote on November 25:
“… commentators in Germany have started to evoke the darkest days of the Weimar Republic, when short-lived minority governments ruled by emergency decrees. ‘Like in Weimar, the federal republic is now a multiparty system in which extreme parties have begun to paralyse the working of the parliamentary democracy,’ wrote Stephen Szabo, an expert on US-German relations…
“Born amid the chaos following the first world war, the Weimar Republic lasted, unofficially, from 1919 to 1933 and struggled to cope with extremism, hyperinflation and resentment at Germany’s treatment by the war’s victors. In order to reduce political conflicts, a proportional representation system was adopted, leading to a series of coalitions that struggled to govern… In January 1933 the president, Paul von Hindenburg, appointed Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler chancellor. That year, after the Reichstag fire, Hitler seized absolute power and Germany became a fascist dictatorship.”
EU Army No longer Just a Dream
Breitbart wrote on November 24:
“The European Union’s (EU) foreign minister has said the bloc is working at ‘full speed’ to create a unified ‘defence force’ on a ‘continental scale’…
“Led by France and Germany, 23 member-states agreed to a common defence fund, which will see them develop and deploy armed forces together…
“The EU attempted to hide their plans for the defence force – including a centralised headquarters and ‘permanent structured defence co-operation’ – before the Brexit referendum, but they were leaked just weeks before the vote. This September, after the referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, was less secretive about his vision, openly calling for the bloc to rapidly push ahead with the creation of the army.
“The EU Foreign Secretary [said] Thursday: ‘Today we are building the European Union of Security and Defence. It is not a plan anymore, it is not a dream anymore, it is reality coming true. The dream of our founding fathers and mothers is finally coming true… All the building blocks of a Security and Defence Union are finally there, today. We can now project and develop our defence capabilities together; we can buy together, to ensure that we have all the capabilities we need, while spending efficiently; and we can act together much better than before, to manage or prevent crises, to strengthen our partners, to make our citizens more secure.’”
In spite of Germany’s current political turmoil, the EU’s plan for an European army is going forward. And no matter who the next German leader will be, that plan will become a speedy reality. In addition, the Austrian press (krone.at) reported on November 28 that the government plans to increase annual expenses for the Austrian military from presently 2 billion euros to over 3 billion euros.
Washington State Ill Prepared for Earthquakes
The website of king5.com reported on November 21:
“Washington State is considered second only to California in earthquake vulnerability, but it appears to be the least prepared state or province on the west coast including British Columbia…
“A key difference between California and Washington is that California experiences serious quakes more often than Washington. However, a much stronger magnitude 9 coastal earthquake along the Washington coast would also come with tsunami waves and be much like the 2011 Tohoku quake and tsunami that killed 16,000 people in northeastern Japan…”
It is mind-boggling to even imagine a huge earthquake and a massive tsunami devastating Washington state, but this is most certainly within the realm of possibility.
Trump Doubts that Obama Was Born in the USA
CNN reported on November 29:
“President Donald Trump has continued to question the legitimacy of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate during private conversations in recent months, The New York Times reported… One sitting US senator quoted by the Times, ‘who listened as the President revived his doubts’ about the issue, ‘chuckled’ when speaking about what was said. Trump ‘has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States,’ the senator… told The New York Times…
“Trump publicly questioned Obama’s citizenship for several years before saying in a news conference during the 2016 election that he believed, ‘President Barack Obama was born in the United States.’”
Hopefully, the reports are true and President Trump does entertain doubts regarding Barack Obama’s birthplace, as there are so many nagging questions as to the accuracy and truth of the “official” narration. Donald Trump should have NEVER declared that Obama WAS born in the United States, without ever giving any proof for that somewhat speculative assertion.
Scandal… Hospital Fires 50 Employees for Refusal to Get Flu Shots
NBC News wrote on November 23:
“About 50 employees of Essentia Health, an upper-Midwest hospital chain, didn’t go to work Wednesday… They were fired for refusing to get flu shots… Several states, including California, require hospitals to make flu vaccines mandatory and to record and publish their vaccination rates…
“Influenza is not the only vaccine that’s required for health care workers. Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, chickenpox and whooping cough vaccines are also required… The Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and other groups all support mandatory immunization of health care workers — and all say there should be no opt-out except for medical reasons…
“Vanderbilt doesn’t fire people who refuse vaccination but makes them undergo counseling and then wear a mask during flu season…”
The ridiculous requirement of mandatory vaccinations is based on a complete denial of the serious real possibility of side-effects which are much worse than a flu. An ill-informed society has been manipulated by a left-liberal mass media and the greedy pharmaceutical industry to accept their demand for vaccinations. Those who refuse get fired. This is not happening in an autocratic country, but the USA. Vanderbilt’s alternative of wearing masks is a workable solution, but having to undergo counseling is of course stupid. Most of those who conscientiously refuse to get vaccinated are much better informed than those who just accept such intrusion without questioning.) Also note the next article, describing further autocratic and appalling measures by US agencies.
Dictatorial Measures of US Governmental Agencies
The New York Times wrote on November 18:
“Few people realize that the loans they take out to pay for their education could eventually derail their careers. But in 19 states, government agencies can seize state-issued professional licenses from residents who default on their educational debts. Another state, South Dakota, suspends driver’s licenses, making it nearly impossible for people to get to work… Firefighters, nurses, teachers, lawyers, massage therapists, barbers, psychologists and real estate brokers have all had their credentials suspended or revoked…
“Shannon Otto, who lives in Nashville, can pinpoint the moment that she realized she wanted to be a nurse… It took years of school and thousands of dollars of loans, but she eventually landed her dream job, in Tennessee, a state facing a shortage of nurses. Then, after working for more than a decade, she started having epileptic seizures. They arrived without warning, in terrifying gusts. She couldn’t care for herself, let alone anyone else. Unable to work, she defaulted on her student loans. Ms. Otto eventually got her seizures under control, and prepared to go back to work and resume payments on her debt. But Tennessee’s Board of Nursing suspended her license after she defaulted. To get the license back, she said, she would have to pay more than $1,500. She couldn’t…”
At the same time, the US system (contrary to many other Western countries) is set up in such a way that you can hardly study without getting some kind of a repayable loan. All of this is just so awful, merciless and barbaric. No wonder God has been withdrawing His blessing from a country which is becoming more and more heartless.
Bitcoin Soars to Record High
Newsmax reported on November 26:
“There might be something even bigger than Black Friday or Cyber Monday for those spending money this holiday weekend, as cryptocurrency mania led Bitcoin prices to soar over $9,400 Sunday afternoon [By Wednesday morning, it had reached about $11,200.00, but dropped again by Wednesday evening under $10,000.00.]
“‘The number of people opening up new accounts and buying bitcoin, even fractionally, is skyrocketing,’ billionaire Mark Cuban [said], a potential 2020 presidential candidate…
“‘Yet the people who have it as a true store of value have no reason to sell it as long as demand continues.’ Cuban added the price will continue to rise… ‘This growth has pushed mainstream institutions to take notice and capitalize,’ Fortune wrote Friday. ‘CME Group, the world’s largest options and futures exchange owner, announced it would offer Bitcoin futures by the end of the year.’”
Business Insider added that “the average bitcoin investor doesn’t plan to give up their bitcoin until the cryptocurrency reaches $196,165, or 21 times its current value.”
In light of the decreasing trust in shaky banks, corrupt governments and the endurable value of paper money in general, the arrival of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is an interesting phenomenon.
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.
What Does the Bible Say about Addiction and Slavery to Sin?
Actually, the Bible is full of Scriptures addressing this vital subject. Addiction in its many forms is wrong; be it addiction to cigarettes or illegal mind-altering drugs; be it addiction to wrong sexual practices, false ideas and philosophies; be it addiction to a lifestyle of sin; and be it even addiction to something which might not be prohibited per se (i.e. consumption of alcohol), but which becomes sinful due to wrong dependency.
Romans 6:12 tells us very clearly that if we let sinful conduct dictate our lives, we have become addicted to it: “Therefore do not let sin reign [“exercise dominion”, New Revised Standard Version] in your mortal bodies, that you should obey it in its lusts.”
Romans 6:16-22 gives us the following additional admonition:
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey [as your “master,” cp. Revised English Bible], whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness… for just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness… but now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
The word for “slave” is a translation of the Greek word douloo, which can have the meaning of servant or slave. While it may not always refer to someone under bondage (compare Philippians 2:7), it oftentimes does.
1Timothy 6:1 refers to “bond servants as are under the yoke” [“of slavery,” compare Revised Standard Version]. The Bible applies this word many times to the condition of being a slave to sin (John 8:34) whom God must set free (compare verse 36).
The Greek word can refer to people who are slaves of corruption or depravity; having been overcome by their sins and living in bondage or slavery to sin (2 Peter 2:19). The Living Bible writes: “For a man is a slave to whatever controls him.” The New Revised Standard Version states: “…people are slaves to whatever masters them.” And the New Jerusalem Bible says: “… if anyone lets himself be dominated by anything, then he is a slave to it.”
The Greek verb douloois is derived from the noun doulos. It means, “to enslave, to bring into bondage.” We might also say, it describes someone who is addicted to something. For instance, in Titus 2:3 Paul speaks of righteous older women who are “not given to much wine.” In the Greek, it says, “not being enslaved (Greek douloo) to wine.” The New Jerusalem Bible says: “no addiction to wine.” The Revised Standard Version says: “… not slaves to drink.”
Before our conversion, we were all captives of Satan the devil. But2 Timothy 2:26 expresses this hope: “… that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” The Living Bible says: “Then they will come to their senses and escape from Satan’s trap of slavery to sin…”
A slave of sin is under the power of Satan, but he can be freed, and so Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy (Living Bible: break the power of) him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” The New Jerusalem Bible says: “… [He] set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.”
Romans 6:6 explains to us that in our baptism, “our old man was crucified with [Jesus], that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Sin should not have any more dominion over us (verse 14). The Revised English Bible says: “Sin shall no longer be your master.”
Rather, we have become, quite literally, slaves of righteousness, because we don’t belong anymore to ourselves. Christ bought us, we are His property (1 Corinthians 6:20); He is our Master (John 13:13; Authorized Version); we are His slaves (Matthew 10:24-25; the word “servant” is a translation of the Greek, doulos, see discussion above; the New Revised Standard Version, the New American Bible and the New Jerusalem Bible all translate “slave”).
1 Corinthians 7:23 says: “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” That price is the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9).Hebrew 9:14 adds: “… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
On the other hand, as we saw above, we are warned not to allow others to enslave us. This can easily happen, when we are not grounded in the truth, as is explained in 2 Corinthians 11:20: “For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you in the face.”
We read in Galatians 2:4: “… false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage)…”
Quoting from our free booklet, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:
“Paul says in verse 4 that they came to spy out the liberty in Christ. He refers to the liberty from sin; the liberty or freedom from the curse or the penalty for breaking the law, which is death; real freedom which Jesus promised all of us when He said: ‘When the Son of Man makes you free, you are free indeed’ (compare John 8:31–36). But as Peter points out, in 1 Peter 2:16, our freedom cannot be used as justification for sinful conduct. We are freed from the penalty of the law, not from the need to obey the law.
“Paul insists, in verse 4, that false brethren had come in and taught wrong doctrines to bring true members into bondage… That Greek word is also used in 2 Corinthians 11:20. It means, ‘to enslave thoroughly’…”
Our escape from the slavery of sin will include pain and suffering. We read in 1 Peter 4:1-2:“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, that he no longer should live the rest of his life in the flesh for the lust of men, but for the will of God.”
It is grace from God when He allows us to suffer (1 Peter 2:19 and Philippians 1:29; cp. Revised English Bible; New American Bible; New Luther Bible 2009), as suffering frees us from sin.
Romans 8:16-17says:“The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we ARE children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
We must be very careful, however, that we, who are being freed from sin, don’t become again slaves to sin.
1 Corinthians 6:12 says in a very general sense: “I will not be brought under the power of (anything).” We are to conquer any addiction… whatever it might be. The Revised Standard Version says: “I will not be enslaved by anything.”
This includes, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 explains, the necessity of “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The New International Version says: ‘… we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Paul points out that we were all at one time slaves to the false teachings, practices and philosophies of this present evil society. Galatians 4:3says:“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage [“enslaved”, cp. New Revised Standard Version] under the elements of the world…”
Quoting from our free booklet, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:
“… we all were in bondage ‘under the elements’ or ‘rudiments’ of the ‘WORLD’—that present evil world that he had referred to in the first chapter of Galatians. He makes similar statements in Colossians 2:8, 20 and also in Galatians 4:9, again talking about the elements or rudiments of the world, which he describes as ‘philosophy’ and ‘empty deceit,’ and the ‘tradition of men.’ Paul is talking about the way we lived before we were converted—following the rules, regulations, customs, traditions and philosophies of the world, which is presently ruled by Satan the devil.”
Following this, Paul asks the persistent question, in Galatians 4:9: “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how it is that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage [“enslaved to them again,” cp. New Revised Standard Version]?”
The same warning is expressed through an allegory in Galatians 4:29, 31; 5:1:“But, as he who was born according to the flesh (Ishmael) then persecuted him who was born according to the spirit (Isaac), even so it is now… So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman [slave woman”, cp. New International Version] (Hagar; Mount Sinai; verse 25) but of the free (Sarah; heavenly Jerusalem; Verse 26)… Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage [“yoke of slavery”, cp. Revised Standard Version].”
Quoting from our free booklet, Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:
“Paul is describing in his symbolic allegory our spiritual battle, which goes on in our mind. God’s Spirit in us wars against our flesh. Our flesh ‘persecutes’ the Spirit of God and must therefore be cast out (compare James 4:4–5, 8; Romans 6:1–4; 8:5–9; and Colossians 2:11–13)…
“He explains that we must walk by the Spirit, which sets us free, not by the flesh, which brings us into bondage… As we have to cast out the fleshly desires and our human nature, Abraham had to cast out the bondwoman and her son (Galatians 4:30). And why? Because the son of the bondwoman, who was born according to the flesh, persecuted the son of the freewoman, who was born according to the Spirit (verse 29). And Paul continues to allegorize by saying that this is also the case today (same verse).
“How? It occurs when God’s Spirit in us wars with our flesh. Paul said that he did not do what he wanted to do, but that he gave in at times to his flesh, following its desires (Romans 7:13–25). As our flesh ‘persecutes’ our Spirit-begotten minds, so we must cast out the flesh and its desires, including temptations which might originate with Satan or this world…”
“Paul also points out, in verse 31, that we are no longer children of the bondwoman—children of bondage to death—if we let Christ live in us. It is Christ who sets us free from sin and death…”
Paul tells us in Romans 7:14 that even as a converted Christian, he sometimes felt to be “sold under sin”, which was still dwelling in him (verses 17, 20) and brought him into captivity (verse 23). He knew that he had to be freed from it, and he fully understood that victory could only come through Jesus Christ (verses 24-25).
God’s Holy Spirit can give us the power to overcome sin and to free us from every addiction, and Romans 8:15 explains that God’s Holy Spirit does not bring us into fearful bondage: “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to FEAR, but you received the spirit of adoption (sonship)…”
This passage does not negate the fact that we are Christ’s slaves and He is our Master who owns us, but this is a loving relationship, as perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). We are to become sons and daughters of God the Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. We are His FRIENDS if we do what He tells us to do (John 15:14). As Philemon 15-16 shows, being a slave and a beloved brother and friend are not concepts, which necessarily exclude each other.
It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to put to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). We are to walk in the Spirit, so that we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
Ephesians 4:7-8 tells us: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive And gave gifts to men.” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains this verse as follows: “…he led captivity captive; which is expressive of Christ’s conquests and triumph over sin, Satan, the world, death, and the grave; and indeed, every spiritual enemy of his and his people, especially the devil, who leads men captive at his will, and is therefore called captivity…”As Christ triumphed over His foes of Satan, sin, the world and even death, so He gives us the power and potential to do likewise.
We read that those who practice sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). It is Christ in us who empowers us, through His Holy Spirit, to conquer sin. Addiction and slavery to sin CAN and MUST become for us a thing of the past.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
compiled by Dave Harris
A new Member Letter (November 2017) has been written in which Norbert Link issues a powerful and sobering wake-up call to all who will heed! This letter has been mailed to our subscribers and is available on our website. Mr. Link also translated this letter into German, which is available at http://www.ewigengottes.de/.
“You Have Been Warned!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link, which and which incorporates a new video trailer by Michael Link, titled, “How to Find the True Church of God.” Here is a summary:
World conditions become worse and worse, and the great tribulation cannot be far off. But what do YOU do with this knowledge? Do you belong to those who once had understanding of the Truth, but who have lost it? Are you compromising to appease your relatives and friends? Do you think that just a little bit of “giving in” does not matter?
“Sie Sind Gewarnt Worden!” a new AufPostenStehen program presented by Norbert Link features the same subject matter as that of the StandingWatch program described above.
“The Radical Gender War,” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:
Should we have a designation of a third gender, as many believe? Or perhaps as many as 70, as Facebook offers? What is behind the radical intersex and transgender war? Is transgenderism dangerous? Is insisting on two genders—male and female—discriminatory and politically incorrect? Do YOU know the answers?
“Der Radikale Geschlechtskrieg!” is the title of a new AufPostenStehen program, presented by Norbert Link—which covers the same material as described in the StandingWatch program above.
“Besiegen Sie Ihre Sucht nach Sünde?” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon. Title in English: “Do You Conquer Your Addiction to Sin?” (which is based on the Q&A in this Update).
“The Cup of Divinity and Salvation,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermonette, presented by Frank Bruno. Here is a summary:
In this Sermonette, I draw the thread that is clear especially in Matthew in which our Lord utilizes the dual concept of the cup in different ways. First, to signify the coming new covenant between God and man. Secondly, our Lord, on the night of his betrayal expresses the most human emotion of asking the Father if the cup that would bear his death could pass him. Our Lord makes clear however that he will accept the Father’s will. We have all faced trials and human suffering—yet all pales in comparison to what Jesus faced on our behalf. Through his sacrifice we can have the opportunity for eternal life in the Kingdom.
“Walk Worthy,” is the title of last Sabbath’s sermon, presented by Eric Rank. Here is a summary:
What do we need to do to be counted worthy of the Christian calling we have received? How does our effort to live in a worthy manner relate to the free gift of salvation through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ and our relationship to God?
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, Robb Harris, Michael Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
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