Unconscious Decadence

The tragedy of the wicked

The pride of the wicked is their tragedy and their insolent speech can be heard wherever they go. The wicked are like a bad dream which one forgets as soon as he awakens. Their well-being is fleeting.

The psalmist concludes that it is wise not to abandon God and attempt to live an autonomous life based on self-chosen idols.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Psalm 73:9,20,27.

Painful Labor

Here the ‘bread of sorrows’ is food earned with painful labor. Our work creates neither life nor righteousness. Relentless, compulsive work habits, which our society rewards and admires, are seen by the psalmist as a sign of weak faith and assertive pride-as if God could not be trusted to accomplish His will. As if we could rearrange the universe by our own effort. The sovereign intention of God is far more crucial to the outcome than man’s efforts.

What does make a difference is the personal relationships that we create and develop. We learn a name; we start a friendship; we follow up on a smile-or maybe even on a grimace. Nature is profligate with its seeds, scattering them everywhere; a few of them sprout. Out of numerous handshakes and greetings, some germinate and grow into friendship in Christ.

Commentary from Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Masterwork Bible study, Fall 2020, page 13. Also, the John MacArthur study Bible, notes for Psalm 127:2.


A failure to be faithful to the fundamental, sound doctrines of the faith (a proper view of the person and work of Christ, love, obedience) marks a person as having never been born again (1 John 2:23; 3:6-10; 4:20,21; 5:1-3). The word “abide” has the idea of constant adherence and warns that these fundamentals are not open to change or subject to the latest trends or philosophical fads.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for 2 John 9.

Dead or Alive

Nonbelievers are so bound in the sphere of sin, the world (Eph. 2:12), the flesh (Rom. 8:8), and the devil (1 John 5:19) as to be unable to respond to spiritual stimuli; totally devoid of spiritual life. The spiritually dead have no ability to make themselves alive.

Only through a union with Jesus Christ can those hopelessly dead in their sins receive eternal life. Believer’s sins are all put to Christ’s account, nailed to His cross as He paid the penalty in their place, for them, thus satisfying the just wrath of God against crimes requiring punishment in full.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for Colossians 2:13,14.

Sons of the Night, Sons of the Day

1 Thes 5;7

Unbelievers are in darkness, engulfed in mental, moral, and spiritual darkness because of sin and unbelief.

1 Thes 5;5a

Believers live in a completely different sphere of life than those who remain in darkness.  Because believers have been delivered from the domain of darkness, they are taken out of the night of sin and ignorance and put into the light of God and under the control of the truth.  Because Christians are in the light, they should not sleep in spiritual indifference and comfort, but be alert to the spiritual issues around them.

Commentary from the MacArthur study Bible, notes for 1 Thessalonians 5:4,5,6.