The term for “alienated” means “estranged,” “cut off,” or “separated.” Before they were reconciled, all people were completely estranged from God (Ephesians 2:12,13). The term for “enemies” can also be translated “hateful.” Unbelievers hate God and resent His holy standard because they love “wicked works” (John 3:19,20; 15:18,24,25). Actually there is alienation from both sides, since God “hates all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5). Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross that paid the full penalty for the sin of all who believe made reconciliation possible and actual (Romans 3:25;5:9,10;8:3).
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 1:21.
“Do and live” is the promise of the law. But since no sinner can obey perfectly, the impossible demands of the law are meant to drive us to seek divine mercy (Galatians 3:10-13,22-25).
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Luke 10:28.
Prior verses, 23 and 24, subtly reveal the true nature of belief from a biblical standpoint. Because of what observers knew of Jesus from His miraculous signs, many came to believe in Him. However, Jesus made it His habit not to wholeheartedly “entrust” or “commit” Himself to them because He knew their hearts. Verse 24 indicates that Jesus looked for genuine conversion rather than enthusiasm for the spectacular. “Belief into His name” involves much more than intellectual assent. It calls for whole-hearted commitment of one’s life to Jesus.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for John 2:23,24.
The wind blows where it wishes,
and you hear the sound of it,
but cannot tell where it comes from
and where it goes.
Jesus’ point was that just as the wind cannot be controlled or understood by human beings but its effects can be witnessed, so also it is with the Holy Spirit. He cannot be controlled or understood, but the proof of His work is apparent. Where the Spirit works, there is undeniable and unmistakable evidence.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for John 3:8.
Jesus’ reply emphasized the spiritual bankruptcy of the nation (Israel) at that time, since even one of the greatest Jewish teachers did not recognize this teaching in the prior verses on spiritual cleansing and transformation, based clearly on the Old Testament. The net effect is to show that externals of religion may have a deadening effect on one’s spiritual perception.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for John 3:10.
Not only will the Lord establish international peace and stability in the future messianic kingdom, but He will also rule the world with impeccable justice. This is what even inanimate creation awaits.
Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Psalm 96:10-12.
We are each called to ministry in one form or another. Although we tend to think of ministry as something that’s done inside a church, in reality it encompasses everything we do all week long, no matter where we are. In God’s eyes, there’s no division between sacred and secular activities.
Each of us has been created and fitted by God to fulfill the particular ministry He’s chosen specifically for us.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 30, 2017.
King Solomon’s life illustrated the peril of compromise (1 Kings 11:1-7). Concession begins in a seemingly insignificant way. For instance, someone might want you to make a financial decision that you know in your heart is unwise. But you go along with the plan because you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. You have compromised the message of the Holy Spirit, who warned you.
Small compromises lead to more serious ones. With each successive concession, our conscience is weakened. Ultimately, whenever we give way to evil – whether we let go of a doctrinal belief or simply listen to music that taints our thoughts – we always lose.
We compromise for a variety of reasons. Many do so from fear of rejection or of being unappreciated. Some choose this route to avoid conflict. Still others may begin to doubt God’s trustworthiness or goodness; as a result, they give up on Him, compromising their basic beliefs and undermining their reason for assurance.
To be men and women who are strong enough to resist making concessions, we need to develop some essential armor. First, we must have strong convictions about the Bible and depend on it as a guide for daily living. Next, we need to have faith in God’s promise to supply all of our needs. Finally, we must find the courage to trust in Him, even when we are misunderstood, persecuted, or falsely accused. When we surrender our life to God, He replaces enslavement to compromise with security in Him.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, January 29, 2018