Bible reading for Dec 3.
2 Chronicles 2.
"The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?" (2:5-6)
THE WORK BEGINS. The temple that Solomon would build was not to be some kind of container for God, but rather a place to meet with God and to worship him. It would be a beautiful structure, built with precious materials and fine craftsmanship. Most of the labor was provided by resident aliens who were drafted for the work and compensated as indentured servants. Hiram, the king of Tyre and friend of King David, recognized the excellence of Solomon's leadership: "Because the LORD loves his people, he has made you king over them" (v 11).
1 John 2.
"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (2:17)
CHRIST OUR PROPITIATION. The atoning value of Christ's death is available and sufficient for anyone and everyone in the world who would trust him. This propitiation -- which means the satisfaction of God's justice and wrath -- when received produces people who do not want to sin any longer. The Lord Jesus is also an advocate for his people even when they lapse into sin. The Apostle John makes a distinction between a lapse into sin and the practice of sin (vv 1-2, 29). Those born of God are seeking righteousness as a way of life. John is writing about the evidences of God's life in those born again. He is answering the question, what does it mean to "walk in the light" or to "have fellowship with God"? Especially, what does this mean in contrast to what the false teachers were saying (see yesterday's post). Sound doctrine always gives central place to "God in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5:19).
HOW JOHN WRITES. His style is not like Paul's or Peter's letters, but is more poetic, with repeated phrases of parallel or antithetical statements. First John is simple, terse, and one of the easiest books in the NT to translate from the Greek. But it is very deep. Some have compared this letter to OT wisdom literature, like Job or Proverbs. As noted in yesterday's reading, John has a number of themes he writes about, and he presents them in a circular (or spiral) fashion, returning again and again to the key themes (see yesterday's chart). In this chapter he addresses the moral (sin / righteousness) in verses 1-6, the social (love for the brethren) in verses 7-11, the doctrinal (knowledge of the truth) in verses 18-28, and back to the moral again in verse 29. The "anointing" in verses 20-27 is referring to the Holy Spirit who gives believers insight into the true meaning and application of God's word.
LOVE NOT THE WORLD. Verses 12-17 form a kind of parenthesis in the middle of this section. The "children - fathers - young men" (a couplet of three statements) is referring more to our calling and maturity rather than to physical age (cf. vv 18, 28). The "young men" conclude each triplet, highlighting the strength needed to resist conformity to the world in verses 15-16. These verses are likely an allusion to Gen 3:6, "...saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise...", telling us that Satan's evil dynamic is ongoing in this world. This section is concluded with, "the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever" (v 17).
REFLECT. Many of us have been in hospital rooms where monitors keep track of a patient's heart rate, pressure, and blood oxygen level. The Apostle John is showing us the signs of a healthy Christian life: the habitual turning away from sin in order to walk obediently with God; a growing love for God's people (both as individuals and as a group); and an enduring faithfulness to the gospel and to sound biblical teaching. These are the vital signs on the spiritual life monitor, so to speak. So, how does your monitor read? Remember that Christ himself is your propitiation and advocate. Go to him. Confession is a good thing! (1 John 1:9)
Image credit. Photo by DiverDave via Wikimedia Commons. We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.