Daily Wisdom 249: Proverbs 12:2

Proverbs 12:2 (NKJV) — 2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.

The most valuable blessing. What could be superior to obtaining the Lord’s favor? When a person chooses to do good, the blessings of the Lord will be upon that person. Genuine spiritual goodness comes only from the presence of the Holy Spirit. (See Galatians 5:22-23.) The good person will have no need of wicked tactics, favoritism, under-the-table activities, or good-luck charms. Indeed, God will judge the person who relies on anything other than Him for blessings, prosperity, and provision.

[archive]

Daily Wisdom 248: Proverbs 12:1

Proverbs 12:1 (NKJV) — 1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

Instruction, knowledge, and correction. Not only do we see the relationship between instruction and knowledge  in this verse, but also the relationship between these two and correction. Instruction and knowledge go together. There will be no knowledge where there is no instruction. Instruction can come from the school of life, but often an actual human teacher will be involved. In fact, human teachers are necessary in the church. (See Romans 12:4-7; I Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-12.)

The word stupid tends to  be so offensive many well-spoken people rarely use it. The KJV uses “brutish” instead. But more recent translations agree with the NKJV. The Hebrew baar, translated “stupid” is defined as “senseless, i.e., pertaining to lacking understanding, but implying other negative moral imperfections as well” (James A. Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains [Logos Bible Software]).

The person described as “stupid” hates being told what to do. This person will never have true knowledge, for instruction often takes the form of correction. For example, when an answer on a test is marked wrong, that is both correction and instruction. When a trainee has to be shown again how to do his job, that is both correction and instruction. A person who is willing to accept correction will find that it contributes greatly to his education.


A reminder: These “Daily Wisdom” comments are drawn from my commentary on the Book of Proverbs, which is titled Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World. The book is published by Word Aflame Press and is available at pentecostalpublishing.com and from Amazon and Apple Books.

[archive]

Daily Wisdom 247: Proverbs 11:31

Proverbs 11:31 (NKJV) — 31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.

Compensation. Not only will the righteous reap what they sow in this present world, but so will the wicked and even more so. (See I Peter 4:18.) Nothing we do is in a vacuum. Every action will be followed by a reaction. Ultimately, God’s justice will prevail in every life.

[archive]

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans 8:27; 9:1-3; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 18-19, 30

During January, I am teaching an adult elective class each Sunday morning at The Sanctuary UPC, our home church, located in Hazelwood, Missouri. Mitchell Bland is our pastor.

The lessons are drawn from my new book, The Holy Spirit: A Commentary. Next Sunday, January 10, I plan to discuss the verses listed above from the Book of Romans.

The book is published by the Pentecostal Publishing House and can be ordered at pentecostalpublishing.com. It is also available as a Kindle download at amazon.com and as an Apple Book.

This Sunday’s study guide is posted below. I plan to post the video of the class by next Monday, January 11. The study guide for January 3 was posted on this blog on January 2 under the title “The Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27.” The video for that session was posted on January 3 under the same title.


The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans 8:27; 9:1-3; 14:17; 15:13, 16, 18-19, 30

January 10, 2021

Daniel L. Segraves, Teacher

danielsegraves.com

Twitter: @danielsegraves

[1] Paul’s description of God as knowing the “mind of the Spirit” and the Spirit making intercession “according to the will of God” indicates the radical monotheism of God (Romans 8:27). There is no fragmentation within God; there is only one God.[1] This omnipotent,[2] omniscient,[3] omnipresent[4] God is capable of relating to us as Father; He is capable, by means of the Incarnation, of relating to us as the Son of God in providing redemption; and He is capable, apart from the Incarnation, of dwelling within us as the Holy Spirit. For these reasons, the mind of the Spirit is, by definition, the will of God.

[2] Paul was in Christ as he wrote Romans 9:1-3. (See Romans 6:3-8; 8:1-2, 9-10.) His confession, “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 9:1) indicates that to be “in Christ” was by definition to be “in the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit dwelling within him offered no condemnation of his sincerity or truthfulness in conjunction with his confession, as dramatic as it was.

[3] The kingdom of God is not defined by a sacred diet but by the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer: righteousness (right standing with God), peace (Romans 5:1), and joy (Romans 14:17). This is similar to the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Since matters of diet (and, by implication, observation of sacred days [Romans 14:5-6]) are not defining issues, they should never be issues of fellowship. Entry is gained and maintained in the kingdom of God by the birth of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13), not by embracing dietary laws or sabbath days. (See Galatians 4:9-11; Colossians 2:16-17).

[4] The only way believers can abound in hope is by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Nothing can develop biblical hope apart from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Hope is not positive thinking, positive mental attitude, or possibility thinking. It results only by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit within.

[5] Paul’s reference to “the offering of the Gentiles” seems intended to remind his Jewish readers that the Gentiles’ salvation was accomplished by the will of God (Romans 15:16). Thus, there was no reason for Jewish believers to hold Gentile brethren at arm’s length. If Gentiles were acceptable to God, they should be acceptable to Jewish Christians. (See Romans 15:5-7.) If Gentiles were sanctified, or set apart unto God, by the Holy Spirit, no legitimate reason remained for Jewish Christians to reject them.

[6] How Christ accomplished the conversion of Gentiles through Paul was “in word and deed . . . in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 15:18-19). Paul’s ministry was not limited to a vocal declaration of the gospel; it included confirming the word with signs following. Nothing in Scripture suggests God intended to restrict this kind of ministry to the first century.[5]

[7] Paul was apparently in Corinth when he wrote his letter to the Romans. He knew difficulties awaited him in Jerusalem. (See Acts 20:22-24; 21:10-14.) Even Agabus, a prophet, and other believers warned Paul about the consequences of going to Jerusalem, he did not hesitate to pray for deliverance. He was not unwilling to face whatever was in store, but he was no fatalist. Since no man is omniscient, there is always a place for prayer for deliverance from difficulties – even those that are foretold, unless God specifically declares His refusal to remove the obstacles. So Paul appealed for prayers “through the Lord Jesus Christ,” or based on the believers’ unity together in Him (see Romans 6:3-8; 12:4-5), and “through the love of the Spirit,” meaning the love that results from the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 15:30).

Summary of the Holy Spirit in Romans

  1. The Spirit declared Jesus to be the Son of God by the Spirit’s role in His resurrection from the dead.
  1. The Old Testament practice of circumcision symbolized New Testament realities involving the Spirit.
  1. The Spirit produces hope and love, and believers are to be led by the Spirit.
  1. The kingdom of God does not involve what believers eat or drink. It involves the Holy Spirit.
  1. Signs and wonders accomplished by the Spirit play a vital role in the spread of the gospel.

[1] See Deuteronomy 6:4; I Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 3:20; Ephesians 4:6; I Timothy 2:5; James 2:19.

[2] Revelation 19:6.

[3] Psalms 33:13-15; 139:1-4; Isaiah 46:9-10; Jeremiah 1:5; Matthew 10:30; Hebrews 4:13.

[4] Deuteronomy 4:39; I Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 66:1; Jeremiah 23:24; Amos 9:2-3.

[5] See Mark 16:17-20; Acts 13:11; 14:3, 8-10, 19-20; 19:11-12; 20:9-12; 28:1-8; I Corinthians 2:1-5; II Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4.

(c) 2021 by Daniel L. Segraves

[archive]

 

Daily Wisdom 246: Proverbs 11:30

Proverbs 11:30 (NKJV) — 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

The tree of life. In Scripture, the tree of life is connected with wisdom.

Proverbs 3:18 (NKJV) — 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her.

If the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was the tree of wrong knowledge, it is reasonable to assume that the tree of life would have given right knowledge. The “fruit of the righteous” speaks of what righteous persons produce. They will produce wisdom, both by words and deeds.

One of the fruits of wisdom is the winning of souls, and wisdom is necessary in this endeavor. In this Old Testament context, the winning of souls seems to refer to the ability to establish lasting friendships and to persuade others to right points of view.

[archive]

Daily Wisdom 245: Proverbs 11:29

Proverbs 11:29 (NKJV) — 29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

The danger of troubling one’s own house. Those persons who do things that trouble their own family are courting disaster. They will gain nothing of substance; they will be left grasping the air. The first place Christianity must be demonstrated is in the home. Wise people will be promoted; fools will be demoted.

[archive]

Daily Wisdom 244: Proverbs 11:28

Proverbs 11:28 (NKJV) — 28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

The wrong attitude toward money. The question we must ask ourselves is, “Where is my trust?” The person who trusts in money will certainly fall. A person does not need to have money in order to trust in it. If people think money would solve their problems if they had it, they are trusting in money. Those who are overcome with fear, worry, and doubt because of the loss of a job or a bad economy demonstrate that their trust is in money.

Mark 10:24 (NKJV) — 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

Regardless of economic trends or personal fortunes, righteous people will flourish in the same way that a branch flourishes. In other words, they recognize they are not their own source of life and strength, for a branch depends solely on the vine for life.

John 15:4–5 (NKJV) — 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Those who are righteous worry no more than a branch worries. Their responsibility is not to originate life or fruitfulness but to simply let the life of the vine flow through them.

[archive]

The Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27

I am scheduled to teach an adult elective class tomorrow at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Mitchell Bland is pastor. The plan is to examine references to the Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27 as found in my book The Holy Spirit: A Commentary. I am posting the handout here. It is an excerpt from the book, which is available at pentecostalpublishing.com. I also plan to post the video of the class session at least by Monday, January 4, 2021.


The Holy Spirit in Romans 8:18-27

January 3, 2021

[1] According to Romans 8:23, not only does creation, apart from human beings, groan in anticipation of the revelation of the sons of God; so do those people who have experienced the new birth. We believers “groan within ourselves” as we eagerly await the ultimate and final manifestation of our redemption: the redemption of our body, the material person. (See Romans 8:19, 21.) This event is “adoption.” This does not suggest believers are not yet adopted. In a very real sense, adoption occurs upon the reception of the Holy Spirit. (See Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:5-7; Ephesians 1:5.) But just as we are already redeemed, yet we anticipate the final work of redemption, so although we are already adopted, we eagerly await adoption’s final accomplishment. This may be spoken of as the “already, but not yet” aspect of redemption. There is a sense in which we are already redeemed; there is a sense in which our redemption has not yet occurred. Prior to the return of the Lord, the inner man is redeemed. At His coming, the outer man will be redeemed as well. This is further seen in that what believers now experience is the “firstfruits of the Spirit.” This indicates a greater and final work of the Spirit is to follow.

[2] Suffering believers receive help from the indwelling Holy Spirit with their weaknesses (Romans 8:26). They are not expected to maintain hope on the basis of sheer determination alone (Romans 8:25.) In many of the painful circumstances believers face as they await the redemption of their bodies (Romans 8:23), they are unsure even as to how they ought to pray. It is at times like these that “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Paul described the creation (Romans 8:22), the believer (Romans 8:23), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26) as groaning. Contextually, the cause of the groaning is the painful influence of sin on all of creation, including human beings. The Spirit’s identification with the believer is so intimate and intense that He groans in empathy with the believer’s weaknesses. This verse does not remove the believer’s responsibility to pray intelligent prayer when the situation is such that he knows how he should pray, but it holds out the promise that in these situations beyond the believer’s ability to comprehend, the Holy Spirit intervenes.

[3] This is probably not a reference to praying with tongues, although praying with tongues is a valid exercise. (See I Corinthians 14:2, 14-15.) In this case, the intercession of the Spirit is made “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The tongues, or languages, with which one speaks by the influence of the Holy Spirit are genuine, intelligent words, not groanings. They are words which can be uttered (Acts 2:4). The reference here is to those situations where the difficulty is so overwhelming and the solution so elusive that the believer is helpless to make any progress in prayer. He is not to despair, however, for the Holy Spirit is fully aware of the believer’s needs, and He intercedes on behalf of the suffering believer.

[4] It is God who searches the human heart (Romans 8:27; see also I Samuel 16:7; I Kings 8:39; I Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 17:3; 139:1; Hebrews 4:13). God knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit’s intercession on behalf of the suffering believers is “according to the will of God.” The fact that when the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the believer, He does it “according to the will of God” underscores the fact that when the believer is able to pray intelligently, he must pray according to the will of God. All of God’s works are done according to His will. God is sovereign; He knows what is best in every situation. Believers must always pray for the will of God to be done.[1] To assume to know what is best in a given situation, and to attempt to order God to act according to one’s own opinion, is the height of presumption.

[1] See Matthew 6:10; 26:42; Romans 1:10; James 4:15; I John 5:14.

(c) 2021 by Daniel L. Segraves

[archive]