THEREFORE WE ALSO HAVE AS OUR
AMBITION WHETHER AT HOME OR ABSENT TO BE PLEASING TO HIM: dio kai
philotimoumetha, (1PPPMI) eite endemountes (PAPMPN) eite ekdemountes, (PAPMPN)
euarestoi auto einai. (PAN): (John 6:27; Romans 15:20;
1Corinthians 9:26,27; 15:58; Colossians 1:29; 1Thessalonians 4:11; 1Timothy
4:10; Hebrews 4:11; 2Peter 1:10,11; 3:14) (2Co 5:6,8; Romans 14:8) (Genesis
4:7; Isaiah 56:7; Acts 10:35; Ephesians 1:6; Hebrews 12:28)
The ESV Study Bible has the
following note on the greater context of 2Co 4:1-6:13
Paul's Encouragement in His Ministry.
Paul explains why, despite his life of affliction as an apostle of Christ,
he does not lose heart in his ministry (2Co 4:1-note,
2Co 5:6-note). He then goes on
to define further (2Co 5:11-6:2) and support (2Co 6:3-13) the message and
character of the new covenant ministry itself (ESV
Online Study Bible Crossway - free if you buy a written copy of the ESV
Now let's look at the
For we know that if the earthly tent
= temporary residence =
figuratively our physical body, temporary dwelling places even as a "tent"
is temporary, cp similar allusions in Jn 1:14 verb form skenoo = tabernacled", 2Pe 1:14KJV-note-
= tent, tabernacle)
which is our house
(our spirit and soul lives in the house, our body)
is torn down
(euphemism for "falling asleep" or dying),
we have a building from God
(allusion to our glorified body, discussed in 2Co 5:4-note
and more fully in 1Co 15:51, 52, 53, 54, 36-50),
a house not made with hands
(our glorified, resurrection body, cp Mk 14:58, Jn 2:19, 21),
eternal (in contrast
to the temporal state of our earthly bodies)
in the heavens (in
the best place, the abode of God! With the Lord forever 1Th 4:17-note).
For indeed in this house
(our physical body)
- because of the burden of sin in these physical bodies which brings about
- describes earnest desiring and
= continually yearning)
to be clothed with our dwelling from
heaven (our glorified
resurrection body - 1Jn 3:2-note,
the final phase of the redemption of our body - Ro 8:23-note);
inasmuch as we, having put it on,
shall not be found naked
(In eternity we will not be bodiless spirits - Note that the saints now in
heaven are awaiting their glorified resurrection bodies at the
Rapture vs Second Coming. I
cannot find a Scripture which definitely describes the character of what I
will call the "intermediate state", but we
know that Moses and Elijah appeared at the Transfiguration and were clearly
recognizable by Peter = Mt 17:3,4 and Jesus' post-resurrection bodily
appearances - Jn 20:19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29).
For indeed while we are in this tent
(because of the presence of sin and the continual spiritual conflict between
Spirit versus the
and consequently a groaning for glory, a longing for Jesus to return and to
receive our perfect, resurrected, glorified body),
being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be
clothed, in order that what is mortal
(our present physical life) may be swallowed up (all aspects of their old
"mortality" -pain, sin, etc)
(eternal life in Christ, Who is our life,
cp Php 3:20, 21-note).
Now He who prepared
- carefully fashioned)
us for this very purpose is God
(MacArthur - "believers obtain their glorified bodies in fulfillment of
God’s sovereign plan from all eternity, bound up in His elective
decree...God’s ultimate purpose in salvation is not justification but
Who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge
arrabon [word study]
- Paul explains how we can be confident that God will indeed give us
glorified bodies. Cp Ep 1:13, 14-note.
His earnest, first installment or "down payment" to be fulfilled in our
future glorified body. Pledge also pictures an engagement ring, which is
appropriate for the Church is the Bride, awaiting the return of her
Bridegroom Christ Jesus - see
Second Coming; This verse also
strongly argues against a believer losing their salvation!).
(points back to the foundational truths Paul expressed in 2Co 5:1-5 and lead
to good courage in face of death),
continually faced death with confidence and we can too!)
always of good courage, and knowing
(intuitive knowing, that inner assurance given by the Holy Spirit - cp Ro
that while we are at home in the body
(idiomatic way to refer to our physical bodies here on earth)
we are absent from the Lord
(In a physical sense, for spiritually He is in us [Col 1:27-note,
and always with us [He 13:5-note])
for we walk
= we continually conduct ourselves or behave)
(absolute negation = "absolutely not")
by sight-- (This is
Paul's "simple secret" [albeit not always so simple in practice!] of how we
as believers can experience fellowship with the invisible God [cp He 11:24,
and abundant life in Christ (Jn 10:10b), while still in these decaying
physical bodies [cp 2Co 4:16-note,
2Co 4:18-note - Faith "looks" at the unseen, the
we are of good courage, I say, and
pleased, take delight or pleasure)
rather to be absent from the body
and to be at home with the Lord.
Comment: MacArthur writes:
The reality of death faces every believer who dies before the Lord raptures
the church (Ed: cp 1Th 4:13, 14-note,
1Th 4:15, 16-note,
1Th 4:17, 18-note).
Those who look forward to receiving their glorified bodies, to the
perfections of life in heaven, to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for them,
and to living forever in His presence will be able to say triumphantly with
Paul, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1Co
J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press
Therefore (dio) is a
term of conclusion in which
Paul is saying in view of the truths in 2Co 5:1-8 (and even continuing back
to the previous chapter - eg 2Co 4:18-note) concerning our guarantee
(God's trustworthy pledge = 2Co 5:5-note) of a future eternal glorified body we
will receive after we leave our earthly body. Every religion,
philosophy or creed other than Christianity has grappled unsuccessfully with
the inevitability of death [and taxes], so this is quite a triumphant "therefore"
sounded forth by the apostle Paul!
May God grant each of us the fullness
of His Spirit that we might shout "Therefore"
and might be empowered to live "therefore-focused lives" in Christ Jesus our
soon coming King of kings! Amen
WHAT IS YOUR
YOUR BRIEF STAY UPON EARTH?
Whenever I ponder my answer to this
question, God's timeless wise words to Baruch come to mind...
"Seekest thou great things for thyself?
Seek them not:
for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh", saith the LORD, "but thy
life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest." (Jer
Baruch Records God's Word thru Jeremiah
(Click to enlarge
Gustave Dore's Woodcut)
Baruch (see ISBE
entry #1) was a young man of good birth and great promise who
left that behind to fulfill his life purpose by serving the Lord through his
assistance to Jeremiah in his divinely appointed prophetic call (Je 1:5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10). As a result, not only did the
spare his life when all the
others who had fled into Egypt were losing theirs (cp Mt 16:25, Mk 8:35),
but his name has been known and honored by God's people every generation
since. And, of course Jesus promised far more to those with a God saturated
vision and ambition
"Truly I say to you, there is no one who
has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of
the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times as much at this time
and in the age to come, eternal life." (Lk 18:29,30, cp Lk 14:26, 27,
33, Mk 8:36, 37, et al).
Beloved, may Paul's ambition to be
pleasing to the Living God, prompt each of us to take a moment and ponder
what will be the eternal fruit of our present ambitions, for as God reminds
"days are like grass; as a flower of the
field, so (we flourish). When the wind has passed over it, it is no more;
and its place acknowledges it no longer." (Ps 103:15)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but
the word of our God stands forever. (Isa 40:8)
Consider reading John Piper's online book
Don't Waste Your Life
or the online sample of
Life As A Vapor.
HOW BRIEF IS OUR
LIFE ON EARTH?
Below are some passages that relate to
the brevity of our life on planet earth. May God's Spirit enable us to
on them that we might be motivated to seek to make 2Cor 5:9 our "life
(transforming) verse" to praise of the glory of His matchless grace.
Shortness of our lives: Job 7:6, 7
9:25, 26 14:1, 2 Ps 37:2-note
Ps 39:5, 6-note
Ps 90:4, 5, 6-note,
Ps 90:9, 10-note
Isa 38:12,13 40:6,7 Jas 1:10, 11-note,
Jas 4:14 1Pe 1:24-note
2Ki19:26 (Note that Job speaks a great deal about the brevity of life.
Interesting to ponder in view of what had transpired in his life.)
[word study] from philos
= friend, loved + time = honor) means literally to be fond of honor,
to be actuated by love of honor and hence to strive or seek for honor and
hence to be ambitious. In later Greek it came to denote restless eagerness
in any pursuit, hence, "to strive eagerly, to be zealous."
thus evolved to picture one who was to earnestly aspire to something,
implying strong ambition for the goal in view. The emphasis is on yearning
that a particular thing will be accomplished and fully give oneself to do
the task. The
emphasizes that Paul's goal was to continually conduct himself in a manner
that pleased his Lord and Master.
Gromacki picks up on the above
definition commenting that...
When a redeemed sinner perceives all that
God has done for him and all that he is in Christ, then he will live and
serve out of love for honor. He will want to honor his God and the name of
Christ that he bears. (Stand
Firm in the Faith: An Exposition of 2 Corinthians)
Philotimeomai - "desire
earnestly", "Make it one's aim" (Plummer)
The 2Cor 5:9KJV is somewhat
misleading suggesting that we need to "labor" so that "we may be
accepted by Him." Paul is not suggesting that believers must "labor" to
be "accepted" by Christ. No works of ours could ever please God.
Only His works done in and through us as we abide in the Vine, Christ Jesus,
are acceptable to His holy eyes. Most other versions are rendered to convey
the more accurate sense that we as believers
are to have as our highest ambition the earnest desire to please Christ.
BDAG explains the etymology of
this word and how it relates to the Greek word for honor noting that...
special honor (time) was accorded persons
who rendered exceptional service to the state or other institutions, and
many wealthy persons endeavored to outdo one another in philanthropic public
service...have as one’s ambition, consider it an honor, aspire, with focus
on idea of rendering service
W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament
and Other Early Christian Literature
Plummer comments that
in meaning and construction is thus
equivalent to spoudazein (spoudazo)
(1Th 2:16, Gal 2:10, Ep 4:3, 2Ti 2:15)."We make it a point of honor" is a
translation which looks neat, but is not preferable to "desire earnestly" or
"make it our aim" (Plummer
-ICC on 2Corinthians)
3x in 3v - Both of the other NT uses also describe godly ambition...
And thus I aspired (KJV = strived) to preach the gospel, not where
Christ was already named, that I might not build upon another man's
and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your
own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;
Our ambition - KJV = "We
labor". Bengel describes this ambition (2Co 5:9) as “the sole legitimate
ambition.” (una ambitio legitima). Let us not play at Christianity as
we would the popular game called "Trivial Pursuit", but let us devote
ourselves, ambitiously, zealously to the cause of Christ! There is no better
and more profitable way to pass our short time on this earth which John says
is also passing away and even its lustful desires (1Jn 2:17-note).
Normally one would not think "ambition"
a good thing in a life initiated and daily enabled by grace (undeserved
divine favor and divine power- 2Co 12:9-note),
for as Thomas Adams once said "Ambition, like the grave, is never
full." Paul however elevates the meaning of ambition from the normal
selfish, fleshly ambitions that drive fallen men to seek to be number one
(someone has well said the "number 1" is "next to nothing"! Pun intended!)
and instead uses it to refer to a "holy ambition". Here are two good tests
for us to follow as we seek to live a life pleasing to God. (1) Will it make
others stumble? (2) Will I be ashamed if Jesus should return?
So many in the Western World (and yes,
even genuine believers) bow low to the god "mammon" (cp Mt 6:24KJV-note)
and have as their life ambition to achieve worldly riches (albeit
transient) rather than the eternal riches found only in a knowledge of and
relationship with Christ (Col 2:3-note,
and will one day (believers = 2Co 5:10-note)
painfully, regretfully understand from their experience the truth of the
proverb which says...
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth.
Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is
gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings. Like an eagle that flies
toward the heavens. (Pr 23:4, 5) ("Amen" or "O my!") (cp He 13:5-note)
James M Scott rightly observes
Paul does not put his own preferences
first. Like the synoptic portrayal of Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:36 par.;
cf. John 12:27), Paul subordinates his own will to the will of God. To
please God in all things is the apostle’s highest goal (cf. Ro 12:1-note,
To bring praise and honor to God is Paul’s constant aim. (Scott,
J. M.. New International Biblical Commentary: 2 Corinthians. Peabody, MA:
Philip Edgcumbe Hughes writes
In arresting contrast to the ambition of
this world, it is centered, not on self, but on the Saviour; its goal is to
please Him. Hence Paul's injunction to the Colossians: "Whatsoever ye do, in
word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,... heartily, as unto
the Lord, and not unto men" (Col. 3:17,23).(Paul's
Second Epistle to the Corinthians: The English Text with Introduction,
Exposition and Notes or
John Trapp comments that...
Our hope of heaven makes us active and
abundant in God's service. The doctrine of assurance is not a doctrine of
liberty, but the contrary, 1Jn 3:3-note.
David Brainerd echoed Paul's ambition
to please God when he said...
I do not go to heaven to be advanced but
to give honor to God. It is no matter where I shall be stationed in heaven,
whether I have a high or low seat there....My heaven is to please God and
glorify him and give all to him and to be wholly devoted to his glory.
J Philip Arthur notes...
We are familiar with the kind of
gratitude that looks back to the cross. ('If Jesus did all that for me, how
can I refuse him anything?') Paul was buoyed up by what we might call
gratitude looking forward. In view of all that God was going to do for him,
he made it his aim to be 'well pleasing to him' (2Co 5:9). Can we not do the
same? The Almighty has promised us glory and a new nature which cannot sin.
He has even promised us full enjoyment of himself. Can we not do a little
more than we do at present in return? (Strength in Weakness)
Adam Clarke elaborates on the
sense in which Paul used the verb to have ambition explaining that
we act at all times on the principles of
honor; we are, in the proper sense of the word, ambitious to do and say
every thing consistently with our high vocation: and, as we claim kindred to
the inhabitants of heaven, to act as they do. (Adam
R Kent Hughes writes...
My three-year-old golden retriever,
Daisy, provides me with a canine example of the desire to please because
that is all my dog wants to do. Daisy dutifully watches me and listens for
my voice inflections or gestures that indicate my pleasure. Her posture
seems to say, "Just tell me what you want and I'll do it!" Daisy doesn't
bark. She doesn't jump up. She doesn't paw the door or screen to get out.
She doesn't steal food, and she doesn't beg. She just stares at the door
until I am overcome with guilt. Daisy worships me. Actually, she's not
perfect. She demands affection. And while she doesn't go into the off-limits
living room when I'm home, she does sneak in to peer out of the window to
see which way her master has gone. So when I'm away from home, I'm not sure
that she always makes it her aim to please me. Bad dog! A sentimental
example from the lips of a dog-lover? Yes! But this is instructive. Daisy
isn't very smart. She doesn't understand abstractions. She doesn't think
much beyond her toys and her next meal and how to get a scratch between the
ears. She can't read. She has no eschatology—no doctrine of the future, of
resurrection, of judgment and reward. Daisy's Plus Ultra is the next dog
biscuit. But though she has no doctrine of future reward, she wants to
please her master. How much more we should want to please Christ Jesus, our
R. K. 2 Corinthians: Power in Weakness. Preaching the Word. Crossway
In his letter to the Galatians Paul
For (Paul now explains why he had invoked
a curse [Gal 1:8, 9] which might seem too harsh to some - the point is that
he would not have said that if he had desired the approval of men rather
than God!) am I now seeking (currying, trying to win over) the favor of men
(his primary ambition before his regeneration, was to persecute Christians
and please fellow Jews) , or of God? Or am I striving (zeteo - aiming at
trying) to please men? If I were still trying to
men, I would not be a bond-servant (doulos
- Paul was surrendered wholly to Christ's will and devoted to Him to the
disregard of his own interest - What a high, holy example Paul sets for all
believers! This should be be our "ambition".) of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Apparently Paul had been accused of trying to curry favor with men. Paul
responds that his primary, overriding ambition was to please God, not to
please men. He would not fashion and shape his message just to please his
audience (Acts 20:27, Gal 4:16, 1Th 2:4-note).
His primary motive was to be pleasing to God. I like what someone once said
"It's dangerous to try to be number one, because it's next to nothing."
Leon Morris: There have always
been preachers who have sought popular acclaim above all else, and there are
some still. It is part of fallen human nature that even those charged with
the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel can fall into the trap of
trying to be popular rather than faithful.
Grant Richison has a pithy
comment/application: In the seeker service approach today, there is a
danger in diluting the message so that the unchurched cannot decipher the
true gospel. The seeker service methodology is biblical to the extent it is
an accommodation to the culture of people in the 21st century. The
methodology of the seeker service is not biblical if it modifies the message
(Ed: cp 2Ti 4:2-note,
2Ti 4:3, 4-note).
If we adapt the message to reach people, then we are in the business of
currying favor with men. There is no biblical justification for flattering
men to gain a following.
If we trim the edges off the
we become religious shadow boxers.
We are not in the business of winning a
popularity contest when it comes to presenting the truth of the gospel.
Truth is as rigid as the multiplication table and cannot be bent and adapted
even to an unchurched culture.
When we perform a religious toe dance
with a gospel of latitude,
we dance the gospel right out of God’s ballroom.
The unadulterated gospel of grace is not
popular for it is not easy to tell people that they are lost (Ed: And
destined for an eternity of unimaginable torment and tragic separation from
their Creator) and need a Saviour. People want to hear that they can do
something about their salvation....Those who court popularity at the expense
of truth will forfeit the message of Christ, the message of grace (Ed:
And the context of 2Cor 5:9 they will emphatically NOT be pleasing to
the Lord!). (Galatians
1:10 Verse by Verse Commentary)
Kistemaker adds that...
Whether believers are in or out of the body does not matter, for their aim
(Ed: "ambition") is to please the Lord....Paul is not addressing those who
have died and are with the Lord. He is speaking to the readers who are
alive. He is exhorting us to serve the Lord in such a manner that both God
and our fellow men always take pleasure in our conduct (Ro 14:18-note;
W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set -Exposition of the Second Epistle
to the Corinthians. Baker Book
Spurgeon once describe his
I know of nothing which I would choose to
have as the subject of my ambition for life than to be kept faithful
to my God till death.
Wiersbe reminds us that...
There is an ambition that is
selfish and worldly, but there is also a holy ambition that honors the Lord.
Paul's great ambition was to be well-pleasing to Jesus Christ. The Judaizers
ministered to please men and enlisted them in their cause; but Paul
ministered to please Jesus Christ alone (Gal 1:10). A man-pleasing ministry
is a carnal, compromising ministry; and God cannot bless it.
William Bridge gives us a good
reminder of the danger of selfish ambition advising us to
Seek not great things for yourself in
this world, for if your garments be long they will make you stumble.
The Puritan Thomas Brooks was even
more pointed warning that...
Ambition (Pride) is a gilded
misery, a secret poison, a hidden plague, the engineer of deceit, the mother
of hypocrisy, the parent of envy, the original of vices, the moth of
holiness and blinder of hearts, turning medicines into maladies and remedies
into diseases. High seats are never but uneasy and crowns are always stuffed
with thorns. (The
Unsearchable Riches of Christ)
At home (1736)
from en = in + demos
= people > endemos = “one who is in his own place or land”)
literally means to be among one’s people. The verb endemeo then
simply means to be present in any state or with any person. In the present
context endemeo is an idiom for being alive.
Paul has just used endemeo
in a similar sense in 2Cor 5:6...
Therefore, being always of good courage,
and knowing that while we are at home (endemeo) in the body we are absent
(ekdemeo) from the
Vine notes that endemeo
used metaphorically of the life on
earth of believers, 2Co 5:6, “at home (in the body)”; in 2Co 5:8 of the life
in Heaven of the spirits of believers, after their decease, “at home (with
the Lord),” rv (kjv, “present”); in 2Co 5:9, “at home” (kjv,
“present”) refers again to the life on earth. In each verse the verb is
contrasted with ekdemeo, “to be away from home, to be absent”; in 2Co 5:6,
“we are absent,” i.e., away from “home” (from the Lord); in 2Cor 5:8, “to be
absent” (i.e., away from the “home” of the body); so in 2Cor 5:9, “absent.”
The implication in being “at home with the Lord” after death is a testimony
against the doctrine of the unconsciousness of the spirit, when freed from
the natural body.
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.
Vine's Expository Dictionary Online)
Grundman adds that neither ekdemeo and endemeo
used in the
they occur in the NT in 2Co 5:6, 8, 9. to express the thoughts (1) that
bodily existence is absence from the Lord, and (2) that full
fellowship with the Lord is possible only apart from this existence.
We and the Lord are in separate spheres. Faith overcomes the
separation (2Cor 5:7) but is not the final reality. We thus desire
("prefer") to be out of the present sphere and at home with the Lord so as
to enjoy the full fellowship of sight. Nevertheless, even in the present
sphere the desire to please the Lord gives direction to life (2Co 5:9). (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
Endemeo - 3x in 3v - 2 Cor 5:6,
from ek = from or out of + demos = people, populace, crowd,
from ek = from or out of + demos = originally a “divided
portion,” the division of a people or territory, the people as inhabitants
of a land or city) literally means to be away from people. Ekdemeo
originally described movement from a geographic location and was used in
Greek with the meaning of to leave one's country or take a long journey. The
Jewish historian Josephus writes that "Elisha the prophet, at that time, was gone out of his own country to
Damascus". To leave. To be in exile. To be absent from a place where
one normally belongs. To emigrate. To travel.
Parepidemois meaning a sojourner is a
derivative of demos.
Absent - In this context means
"asleep" (Used as a euphemism for death but only for believers! = Jn 11:11,
1Th 4:13, 1Co 15:51, see verb
or dead. This expression along with at home is used to contrast the present
life with the eschatological (future) existence with Christ (ultimately in
our new bodies). Paul's point is that whether alive or dead, will be a life
of dedication, service and praise to His great God. In short, his life will
be an unbroken anthem of purpose and praise from present to future.
May God grant us the grace to imitate
Paul's example, so that our joy might be full forever in Christ. Amen.
Vine writes that ekdemeo...
came to mean either (a) “to go abroad,
depart”; the apostle Paul uses it to speak of departing from the body as the
earthly abode of the spirit, 2Co 5:8; or (b) “to be away”; in the same
passage, of being here in the body and absent from the Lord (2Co 5:6), or
being absent from the body and present with the Lord (2Cor 5:8). Its other
occurrence is in 2Cor 5:9.
Ekdemeo - 3x in 3v - 2 Cor 5:6,
Moulton and Milligan -
Greek secular uses - “but if we change our residence, or go abroad,
we shall give notice,” “that no time be lost in his departure”
Louw and Nida - ekdemeo ek
to somatos = an idiom, literally ‘to leave home from the body’.
[word study] from
eu = good, well + arestos = pleasing, desirable, proper, fit,
aresko = to please or be pleasing/acceptable
to) means that which causes someone to be pleased. It is something which is
well approved, eminently satisfactory, or extra-ordinarily pleasing.
Euarestos - 9x in 9v - Ro 12:1,
2; 14:18; 2 Cor 5:9; Eph 5:10; Phil 4:18; Col 3:20; Titus 2:9; Heb 13:21.
NAS = acceptable(3), pleasing(3), well-pleasing(3).
God's will is well-pleasing
because you cannot add anything to the will of God and in any way improve
it. You could not take anything away from it and make it better. God's will
is totally acceptable.
J R Miller asks...
What is the standard of success
in the sphere of the unseen and the eternal? It is the doing of the will of
God. He who does the will of God—makes his life radiant and beautiful,
though in the world's scale he is rated as having altogether failed in the
battle. He who is true, just, humble, pure, pleasing God and living
unselfishly—is the only man who really succeeds—while all others fail. (My
Will--or God's Will)
A W Pink rightly reminds us
God's Word is the daily bread of the
"blessed" man—is it so with you? The unregenerate delight in pleasing
self—but the joy of the Christian lies in pleasing God. It is not
simply that he is interested in "the Law of the Lord," but he delights
therein (Ps 1:2-note).
There are thousands of people, like those in cults, and, we may add, in the
more orthodox sections of Christendom, who are keen students of Scripture,
who delight in its prophecies, types, and mysteries, and who eagerly grasp
at its promises; yet are they far from delighting in the authority of
its Author and in being subject to His revealed will. The "blessed" man
delights in the precepts of the Word. There is a "delight" —a peace, joy,
and satisfaction of soul—pure and stable, to be found in subjection to God's
will, which is obtainable nowhere else. As John tells us "His commandments
are not grievous (burdensome)" (1Jn 5:3), and as David declares "in keeping
of them there is great reward" (Psalm 19:11-note).
The unregenerate delight in pleasing
self—but the joy of the Christian lies in pleasing God. (The
Counsel of the Wicked)
Note Paul's use of
in Titus 2:9-note
where he charges bondservants (doulos
[word study]) to submit themselves to the will of their master in
all things so that they might be well-pleasing to their masters. We as
believers also have a Master, but ours is in heaven, which makes Paul's
charge even more pressing for all who call Jesus "Lord" (kurios
[word study])! Beloved,
may we never be among those who have to hear Jesus' solemn words...
And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and
do not do (present
= as the general habit of your life.
Jesus is speaking of direction, not perfection) what I say? (Lk 6:46)
Comment: To call Jesus Lord must
be coupled with obedience to Him as Lord. To not do so is a dangerous
deception which could end in eternal separation (cp Mt 7:21-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note).
As the NET Bible note says "Respect is not a matter of mere words, but is
reflected in obedient action." To be well pleasing to God is to do His
will, for as Samuel had to painfully point out to King Saul "to obey is
better than sacrifice, to heed than the fat of rams." (1Sa 15:22)
YOUR ONE PASSION?
Paul's service on earth was carried
out so that it would bring pleasure to the heart of his Lord,
whether he was still on earth or whether he was standing before the Judgment
Seat of Christ. To be well pleasing was Paul’s highest goal,
and should be the goal of every believer.
Whatever you do
Do all to the glory of God.
Through the love we have to God, we study
and labour to please Him. This is and will be our heaven, to study to love,
please, and serve Him from Whom we have received both our being and its
Whatever we do,
it is because Christ's love controls us.
HOW TO BE
TO THE LORD
(1) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we like Paul do not become entangled in the affairs of the world.
2Timothy 2:3, 4
command to do this now, to be willing to do it without hesitation when [not
"if"] the suffering comes!) with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No
soldier in active service entangles (empleko
and in the
describes intertwining with the world as a progressive process, not just an
occasional "hiccup". E.g., we need to ask ourselves "Are my possessions
possessing me?", "Where are my affections...my heart?" - see Col
himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please (aresko
- note that this verb is the root of euarestos
which Paul uses here in 2Cor 5:9)
the one who enlisted him as a soldier (Jesus has "enlisted" us in His
So how can we fulfill the ambition to
be pleasing to God? Clearly by
making life choices that do not result in our becoming more and more
entangled with the day to day affairs that occupy (and worry) the crooked
and perverse generation (Php 2:15-note)
that is "tethered" to this present, passing, perverted world. (As an aside,
compare the destructive effects of the world on the sown seed of the Word =
Mt 13:22, Lk 8:14, Mk 4:18, 19)
(2) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we walk like Enoch walked with God (by faith).
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; AND HE
WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that
before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
Comment: From Hebrews 11:6 we see
that Enoch's pleasing God was proof that he believed God and believed
that He was a Rewarder of those who sought Him! Enoch walked by faith not
sight. A walk of faith is reflected in obedience (not perfection but general
direction of one's behavior and conduct.) A faith that is not accompanied
not obedience gives no evidence that it is genuine (saving) faith! Do not
misunderstand - obedience did not save Enoch, but it did demonstrate that he
truly believed God was the only God and that He would reward him (which He
did by rapturing him to Heaven!)
Genesis 5:22 Then
with (Hebrew = halak =
speaks of movement, and thus means to physically walk but here figuratively
describes one's behavior - see discussion below) God 300 years after
he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.
Resources related to Enoch's Walk
Enoch Walking with God - J C Ryle
The Character and Translation of Enoch -
J A James
Enoch Walked with God by Edward Griffin
Hebrews 11:5 Enoch's
Translation - Charles Simeon
with (Hebrew = halak;
= "well-pleasing to") God and he was not for God took him.
translates both uses of the
Hebrew verb "walked" with the Greek verb euaresteo
= well pleasing. Brenton's English translation of the Lxx is "And Enoch
was well-pleasing to God....". It follows that the Hebrew verb halak
clearly describes not just a physical walk but the general conduct of one's
life. In all of the OT examples in this section we find depictions of men
whose lives were characterized not by perfection but by direction,
that is, by a general tendency toward godliness and toward their future
promised home in heaven. As a corollary, if you believe you are headed
for heaven in the future, your life should reflect it on earth
in the present! If it does not, you might be deceiving yourself (study
and your life might not be pleasing to God now or then! (cp Mt 7:21-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note)
As an aside the
translates "took" ("God took him") with the verb
which literally means to
convey or transfer from one place to another!
NET Bible has an additional
interesting insight on the Hebrew verb halak: The construction
translated "walked with" is used in Ge 5:22, 24 and in 1Sa 25:15, where it
refers to David's and Nabal's men "rubbing shoulders" in the fields. Based
on the use in 1Sa 25:15, the expression ("walked with") seems to mean "live
in close proximity to," which may, by metonymy, mean "maintain cordial
John Angell James: We now turn to
the description of his character and conduct given by the writer of the Book
of Genesis—"Enoch walked with God." Nothing can be more beautiful,
comprehensive, or expressive than these few words. They contain a figure of
speech—and what a figure! The allusion is to two people voluntarily and
pleasantly walking together, and conversing confidentially with each other.
They are friends, for "how can two walk together except they are agreed."
They are conscious of each other's presence, as two people in such a
situation necessarily must be. They are engaged in actual fellowship; there
is communion and interchange of thought by speech. They are going the same
way and engaged upon the same subject. Thus did Enoch walk with God. He was,
like Abraham afterwards, the friend of God, having, as a sinner, come into a
state of reconciliation with God by repentance and faith in the promised
"Seed of the woman." He loved God as the effect of God's love to him, they
were friends, and the patriarch knew and rejoiced in it. He lived as in the
presence of God—he endured as seeing Him that is invisible, he acted "as
ever in the great Taskmaster's eye," and was checked in temptation,
stimulated in duty, and comforted in affliction, with Hagar's appeal, "O
God, You see me." His private, domestic, and social life was ever regulated
by the assured belief that he was always and everywhere in the presence and
under the notice, even to the state of his heart, of an observant God. He
maintained habitual communion with God, not only by those public acts of
worship and sacrificial rites, which doubtless, he celebrated before the
eyes of the scoffing generation amidst which he lived, not only at the
domestic altar around which he gathered his household, nor even in the usual
acts of his own private and personal devotion—but also in the constant frame
and tenor of his devout and holy mind. His soul was in habitual communion
with God, by its thoughts, its aspirations, and its unutterable breathings
of confidence, affection, and intense desires. He exercised a divine
friendship, a confidential, yet reverential familiarity, and talked with God
as a man talks with his friend.
In vain our fancy strives to paint
The moment after death,
The glories that surround the saint,
When he resigns his breath!
Thus much, and this is all we know—
They are completely blessed,
Are done with sin, and care, and woe,
And with their Savior rest!
HOW THEN SHALL
WE WALK BELOVED?
Thomas Reade: O, blessed Jesus,
open my understanding, that I may understand the Scriptures (Lk 24:45). Show
me Yourself in all the fullness of Your power- in all the freeness of Your
love. Guide me by Your Spirit, for it is not in man (not in our
power, our self effort, our own natural strength) that walks to direct his
Study, O my soul, the records of eternal
life. There you will discover, through the teaching of the Spirit of Truth,
whether you are a pilgrim on the road to Zion. In that precious Book you are
informed how you are not to walk, if a believer in Jesus–
Walk not after the flesh. (Ro 8:13KJV-note)
Walk not after the course of this world. (Eph 2:2-note)
Walk not in darkness. (1Jn 1:6, Pr 2:13, Jn 8:12)
Walk not by sight. (2Co 5:7-note)
Walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. (Eph 4:17KJV-note)
These important passages stand as beacons, to guard you against the
Lord! you have said, "I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I
will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light
before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them,
and not forsake them." (Isa 42:16KJV) Fulfill this gracious promise to your
servant, who is now seeking to walk in the light of your countenance, and by
the guidance of your Holy Spirit. Cause me to walk in your statutes
faithfully unto the end. Renew my strength that I may run and not be weary,
and walk and not faint; yes, that I may mount with wings like an eagle,
until I reach your abode of glory. (Isaiah 40:31-note)
Search the Scriptures again, O my soul, and learn from these oracles of
truth, how you are to walk as a believer, and how you may be assured that
you are a believer, if your walk be correspondent to these sacred marks (Ed:
Dear saint, let us make such a blessed walk our goal in this one brief
Walk with God. (Ge 5:22)
Walk after (according to) the Spirit. (Ro 8:4, 5-note)
Walk in Christ (Col 2:6-note).
Walk by faith. (2Co 5:7-note)
Walk in love. (Eph 5:2-note)
Walk before God with all your heart (1Ki 8:23, 61, 11:4, 15:3,14, 2Ki 20:3
1Chr 12:38, 28:9, 29:19, 2Ch15:17, 16:9, 19:9, 25:2)
Walk in truth. (1Ki 2:4, 3:14, Lev 26:3, 4, Lk 1:6, Ps 86:11-note)
Walk in wisdom toward those who are without. (Col 4:5KJV-note)
Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. (Eph 5:15KJV-note)
Walk in the light. (1Jn 1:7, Jn 8:12, 12:35, Ps 56:13-note,
Isa 2:5, Isa 9:2, Rev 21:24-note)
Walk as a child of light. (Eph 5:8-note)
Walk in the fear of the Lord. (Neh 5:9, Pr 23:17, Dt 8:6, 10:12, 2Chr 6:31,
Walk worthy the vocation with which you are called. (Eph 4:1KJV-note)
Walk in newness of life. (Ro 6:4-note)
Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. (Col 1:10-note)
Walk worthy of the Gospel of Christ (Php 1:27-note)
Walk worthy of God, who has called you unto his kingdom and glory. (1Th
cp 1Pe 2:9-note)
Walk to please God (1Th 4:1-note)
Walk as Christ walked. (1Pe 2:21-note,
Jn 13:15, 1Jn 2:6)
BELOVED OF THE LORD
MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER...
Blessed Emmanuel! you know that I
desire to walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, but
to walk with my whole heart "in the way of your laws, and in obedience to
your commandments," to walk by faith in your blood and righteousness, to the
honor and glory of your holy name. Like Enoch and Noah may I walk with you.
Like Abraham may I walk before you with a perfect heart. Like David may I
set the Lord always before me.
Oh! Allow me not to walk in the vain imagination of my heart; but in mercy
teach me the good way wherein I should go. Then when I walk in the midst of
trouble you will revive me; yes, when I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death I shall fear no evil, for you will be with me, your rod and
your staff they shall comfort me. O God, who declares your Almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity; mercifully grant unto me such a
measure of your grace, that, running in the path of your commandments, I may
obtain your gracious promises, and be made a partaker of your heavenly
treasure through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
Reade 1841 - Christian Meditations or The Believer's Companion in Solitude -
Walking with God - Genesis 5:22 - a recommended read!) (Index
to All 70 Christian Meditations)
(Cross references added)
Oh! that like Enoch I may walk
With God in fellowship divine,
Enjoy the witness of his love,
And in his blessed image shine.
When you shall call me hence away,
I then shall prove the promise true;
While hastening to the eternal world,
Your glory, Lord, bursts on my view.
Like Abraham may I talk with You,
As friends converse who dearly love,
And taste the comforts of your grace,
'Till I shall reach the world above.
As blessed Elijah, strong in faith,
Was borne aloft on wings of fire,
So may my heart on You be fixed,
Ascending on intense desire.
O may I walk with You in love,
And live, as ever in your sight,
Until far removed from sin and woe,
I walk with You arrayed in white.
Below are the other OT (Lxx) uses of
euaresteo...when it is used to translate the Hebrew verb halak,
to walk with...
Genesis 6:9 These are the
records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in
his time; Noah walked
with (Hebrew = halak ;
= "well-pleasing to") God.
Comment: Dearly beloved of the
Father, if you sense the flames of your ambition to please Christ have
cooled and your walk with Him is not what it once was, then let the
prayerful poignant words of William Cowper's great hymn be in your heart and
on your lips...
Oh, for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
Play Midi of William Cowper's
great hymn to Him
Vocal Version - uses 1st & last stanza
Genesis 17:1 Now when
was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am
God Almighty; Walk
(A reflexive [you yourself is the idea] imperative or command in Hebrew =
= be "well-pleasing to" in the
= make this the
habitual practice of your life!) before Me, and be blameless.
Genesis 24:40 "And he said to me (Isaac
speaking), 'The LORD, before whom I have
(Hebrew = halak ;
= "well-pleasing to"), will send His angel with you to make your journey
successful, and you will take a wife for my son from my relatives, and from
my father's house;
Genesis 48:15 And he (Israel
or Jacob is speaking - Ge
48:14) blessed Joseph, and said, "The God before whom my fathers
(Hebrew = halak;
= "well-pleasing to"), the God who has been my shepherd all my life to
Psalm 26:3 (David
writes) For Thy lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have
(Hebrew = halak;
= "well-pleasing to") in Thy truth.
Spurgeon: If we were not so
forgetful of the way of mercy in which God walks toward us, we should be
more careful to walk in the ways of obedience toward him. And I have
walked in Thy truth. The psalmist was preserved from sin by his
assurance of the truthfulness of God's promise, which truth he endeavored to
imitate as well as to believe. Observe from this verse that an experience of
divine love will show itself in a practical following of divine truth; those
who neglect either the doctrinal or practical parts of truth must not wonder
if they lose the experimental enjoyment of it (cp Jn 7:17).
Some talk of truth,
it is better to walk in it.
Some vow to do well in future, but their
resolutions come to nothing; only the regenerate man can say "I have walked
in thy truth."
Psalm 56:13 For Thou hast
delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may
(Hebrew = halak;
= "well-pleasing") before God In the light of the living.
Spurgeon: That I may walk before
God in the light of the living, enjoying the favor and presence of God, and
finding the joy and brightness of life therein. Walking at liberty, in holy
service, in sacred communion, in constant progress in holiness, enjoying the
smile of heaven -- this I seek after (Ed: cp "my ambition...to be
pleasing to Him"). Here is the loftiest reach of a good man's ambition, to
dwell with God, to walk in righteousness before Him, to rejoice in His
presence, and in the light and glory which it yields. Thus in this short
Psalm, we have climbed from the ravenous jaws of the enemy into the light of
Jehovah's presence, a path which only faith can tread.
Psalm 116:9 I shall
(Hebrew = halak;
= "well-pleasing") before the
LORD In the land of the living.
Spurgeon: This is
the Psalmist's second resolution, to live as in the sight of God in
the midst of the sons of men. By a man's walk is understood his
way of life: some men live only as in the sight of their fellow men,
having regard to human judgment and opinion; but the truly gracious
man considers the presence of God, and acts under the influence of His
all observing eye. "Thou God sees me" is a far better influence than
"My master sees me." The
life of faith, hope, holy fear, and true holiness is produced by a
sense of living and walking before the Lord,
and he who has been favored with divine deliverances in answer to
prayer finds his own experience the best reason for a holy life, and
the best assistance to his endeavors. We know that God in a special
manner is nigh unto His people: what manner of persons ought we to be
in all holy conversation and godliness? (2Pe 3:11-note)
In summary, walking with or before God
speaks of a close relationship with Him and describes the lives of
all of whom walked in a manner that was pleasing to God! May their
tribe increase among those of us who are privileged to be in the New
Covenant and who therefore possess the indwelling Spirit, which leaves us no
excuse to not obey Paul's command to walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:16-note).
And as we walk by the Spirit we
will walk in a manner that is pleasing to God, not because we are so good,
but because God's grace is so amazing! Amen? Amen!
(3) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we like Noah believe He is God and He is a Rewarder.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek
Comment: Note that without faith
is not just "difficult" to please Him - It is impossible! The
point is that nothing but faith pleases God, at least as far as human beings
are concerned! Faith that pleases God, (1) believes that He is the only real
and true God who exists and (2) believes that He is a good God, a God Who
rewards faith, for example with the "rewards" of forever forgiveness and
Christ's imputed righteousness.
C H Mackintosh: (Faith) glorifies
God exceedingly, because it proves that we have more confidence in His
eyesight that in our own.
Matthew Henry: The practical
belief of the existence of God, as revealed in the word, would be a powerful
awe-band upon our souls, a bridle of restraint to keep us from sin, and a
spur of constraint to put us upon all manner of gospel obedience.
William Newell: These two elements
seem most simple, but, alas, how many professing Christians act as if God
were not living; and how many others, though seeking after Him, are not
expecting from Him as Rewarder!
(4) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we are doing good and sharing with others.
And do not neglect
with a negative = a command to stop
neglecting implying some were already neglecting it) doing good and sharing
for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Cp Gal 6:7-note,
contrast Ps 51:16-note,
(5) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we speak forth a message that is not man-pleasing but God-pleasing.
For we (Paul, Silas, Timothy, 1Th 1:1 -
speak as messengers who have been approved by God to be entrusted with the
Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one
who examines the motives of our hearts.
(5) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we abstain from immorality.
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus,
that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and
please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2
For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord
Jesus.3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you
abstain from sexual immorality;
Octavius Winslow has the following
devotional on this passage - What are some of the footprints of this
walk (1Th 4:1)? How may we trace it? Unreserved obedience is an undoubted
mark of pleasing God. An obedience that asks no abatement of the
precept, but that follows the Lord fully in its observance, not from an
enlightened judgment, but from a love-constrained heart- walking, as did the
primitive saints, in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord
blamelessly- is indeed well-pleasing to God. Oh! let there be no reserves in
our obedience! Let us withhold from Christ no part of His purchased
inheritance, but surrender all at His feet, whose heart's blood was the
purchase price of all.
"Lord, however strait be the path,
painful the cross, and self-denying the precept, sincerely would I walk
uprightly in all Your ways, and fully follow You in all Your commands,
leaving the consequences of my simple and implicit obedience to Your
control. I can endure the repulsion of the world, the alienation of friends,
the coldness of relatives, and can take the spoiling of my earthly goods
joyfully, if You, my Lord, sustain me with Your grace, cheer me with Your
presence, and solace me with Your love."
Another footprint may be described in
the walk of faith by which the Christian journeys to His heavenly home.
As unbelief is most dishonoring, so faith is most honoring to the Lord
Jesus. What a revenue of praise accrues from it to His name! To repair to
His sufficiency- with our anxiety, the moment it occurs; with our
corruptions, the moment they are discovered; to His grace- with our sorrow,
the moment it is felt; to His sympathy- with our wound, the moment it is
inflicted; to His love- with our guilt, the moment it is detected; to His
blood- oh! do you do not think that this walk of faith is most pleasing to
Let us beware of that which impairs the simplicity of this our walk, and
causes us to stumble or turn aside. We must be cautious, in the varied
circumstances of our history, of applying first to a human arm for support,
or to a human bosom for sympathy. With this the Lord cannot be well pleased.
But let us not hesitate to bear them at once to the one-appointed source of
all our supply; disclosing our needs to the full Savior; our wanderings to
our heavenly Father; our griefs and burdens to our elder Brother and Friend;
and in thus walking by faith, we shall have the divine assurance in our
souls, our rejoicing this- the testimony of our conscience that we please
Oh, let us seek closely to resemble the two illustrious examples set
before us in the word, of this high and holy walk. The minor one-
because purely human- of Enoch, who "before he was taken up had this
testimony, that he pleased God." The higher one- because the human was
blended with the Divine- of Jesus, who could say, "I always do those
things which please Him."
(6) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we preach His message which to the world is foolish.
1Corinthians 1:21 For since in the
wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was
well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save
those who believe.
(7) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we we offer Him broken and contrite hearts.
Psalm 51:16 For Thou dost not
delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with
burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A
broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.
(8) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we are declaring praise to His Name.
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name
of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. 31 And it will
please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.
(9) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we are discerning His will, walking worthy and bearing fruit (cp Jn 15:8).
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to
pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His
will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may
walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects,
bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
(10) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we petition Him for a heart that hears and obeys.
1Kings 3:9 "So give Thy servant an
understanding (shama' = hear with reverence and obedience; give undivided
attention in listening) heart to judge Thy people to discern between good
and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?" 10
And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked
(11) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we have a reverential awe (fear) of Him and depend on His mercy.
Psalm 147:11 The LORD favors
(Hebrew = ratsah = is pleased with) those who fear Him, Those who wait for
(12) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we experience answers to our prayers.
1John 3:22 and whatever we ask we
receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that
are pleasing in His sight.
(13) When we are pleasing to the Lord
he may bring peace with our enemies.
Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways
are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
(14) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we present our whole heart to Him.
I urge you therefore by the mercies of
God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable (euarestos
- well pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
(15) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we do His will
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of
your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good
and acceptable and perfect.
(16) We are pleasing to the Lord when
For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved
by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the
building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake
of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats
and gives offense.
(17) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we do not participate in but even expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness
trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 (note)
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even
(18) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we bring our offerings to Him
But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply
supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant
aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
(19) Children are pleasing to the Lord
when they submit to their parents
Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is
well-pleasing to the Lord.
(20) We are pleasing to the Lord when
we surrender to Jesus Christ that He might work out His perfect will in our
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the
sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,
21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is
pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
Pondering these preceding passages
pointing out how to please our Lord will help us to live with one eye on
eternity, so that we "may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in
shame at His coming." (1Jn 2:28).
THE POWER OF
Richard Baxter writes on the
importance of pleasing God in our daily battle with our fallen
But, indeed, nothing but the love of
pleasing God, can truly cure the love of flesh-pleasing: and such a cure is
the cure of every sin. (Read the full article by Baxter entitled
The Sinfulness of Flesh-Pleasing)
Smith writes that...
We must seek to please Him.
Everything we do,
either pleases, or displeases,
Man by nature never troubles himself
about pleasing God (Ro 3:9)—but if the Spirit of God dwells in us,
the grand end of life, and the principal aim in every action will be, to
please God. The highest eulogy that could be passed on Enoch was, that
before his translation, he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Let us please God—
and then it is of little consequence
whom we displease!
Way to Be Wealthy and Happy)
Remembering our former state of
powerlessness to please God should stimulate us to make it our present
ambition to please Him. In Romans 8 Paul writes that...
the mind set on the flesh is death, but
the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the
flesh is hostile toward God; for it does (absolutely) not subject itself to
the law of God, for it is (absolutely) not even able (no inherent
power/ability because there is no indwelling Spirit) to do so; 8 and those
who are in the flesh (in the sphere of the fallen flesh) cannot (continually
have absolutely no inherent power or ability to) please God.
(Ro 8:6, 7, 8-note)
Plumer comments: So far from
pleasing God, all the unregenerate are continually offending him. Their very
best works are but splendid sins! They do some things which God
requires, and abstain from some things which God forbids--not because they
love God or His law, but because it promotes their health, or wealth,
or honor to do so.
See detailed discussion by James Smith
The Way to Please God
—below are the 11
"bullet points" that Smith addresses (click
for full discussion of each
1. If we would please God—we must
receive right views of him into our minds.
2. If we would please God—we must
first be reconciled to him, and live at peace with him.
3. If we would please the Lord—we
must exercise filial confidence in him.
4. If we would please the Lord—we
must keep the eye directed to him in all things.
5. If we would please God—we must
endeavor cheerfully to acquiesce in his will.
6. If we would please God—we must
be clothed with humility.
7. If we would please God—we must
honor his beloved Son.
8. If we would please God—we must
watch and strive against inward sin.
9. If we would please God—we must
be zealous in his cause.
10. If we would please the Lord—we
must carefully avoid what displeases him; especially, loving the present
11. Finally, if we would please
the Lord—we must in all things aim at his glory. (Reference
F B Meyer in his book Five
Musts of the Christian Life describes the 4th "must" as THE
"MUST" OF SERVICE -
"And He must
needs go through Samaria" (John 4:4). GOD is prepared to undertake the
direction of every human life which is placed at His disposal. The question
of guidance is therefore of imperative importance for each living soul, as
it passes out into this mortal life. Since God says, "All souls are mine,"
(Ezek 18:4) He must have, therefore, a distinct purpose for each, and sends
each out with resources within reach sufficient to supply all its need (1Pe
according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Php 4:19-note).
It may even be that before the soul joins the body, it stands before its
Maker to receive its directory or charge. Our Lord at least said: "To this
end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world" (Jn 18:37).
At the close of our earth-life we shall again stand before the judgment seat
of Christ to give an account of the things done in the body, whether good or
bad (2Co 5:10).
The Greek word in
translated workmanship, might be transferred bodily into our
language as poem. We might therefore read the verse thus,
We are His poem,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before prepared that
we should walk in them.
Nothing can give
us more confidence as we look out on our life than that God is not only
prepared to unfold His program for us, but is also prepared "to make all
grace abound towards us, that we, having all sufficiency in all things, may
abound to every good work" (2Co 9:8). He will not only supply seed to the
sower, but will also be responsible for his food! Thus our lives will become
enriched to all liberality, which shall elicit from many hearts,
thanksgiving to God.
One Saturday afternoon, Dr. Gunsaulus of Chicago was preparing for his
sermon on the following day. While thus engaged, his nephew, a flippant,
careless fellow, rather lightly asked him the topic on which he was
preparing to preach. He learned that it was on those words of our Lord:
'To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.'
he said: "What do you think I was born for?"
His uncle replied: "I don't know," and his nephew answered, "Neither do I."
As he went along the street, he came to a theatre which had caught fire,
while crowded with people, and many were being crushed and trampled to death
by the mad rush for the door. The young fellow at once threw off his coat,
and began dragging out body after body of these people, some dead and others
dying, till he was stricken by a burning timber, knocked almost senseless,
and carried to the nearest hospital.
Dr. Gunsaulus reached his bedside just in time to hear him say: "Uncle, for
this cause I was born, and for this I was sent into the world, that I might
save those ten people." (Ed: I cannot help but think of Jude's
continually be about the business of saving others, snatching them out of
the fire! [Jude 1:23])
There was a tragedy there, that none of us ever wish to meet. But,
what a comfort it will be at last, to
feel that we have glorified Christ's name and have finished the work which
He gave us to do. (F. B.
Meyer. Five Musts of the Christian Life)
LIVE A LIFE
F B Meyer (Our Daily
Walk) Devotional on 2Co 5:9...
THERE IS scope
for ambition within the sphere of the Christian Faith, and to be without it
is to miss an influential incentive to high and holy endeavour. Our Lord
does not destroy any natural faculty, but directs it to a worthy object.
Instead of living for material good, or the applause of the world, we must
stir ourselves to seek those things which are the legitimate objects of holy
ambition. In two other passages the Apostle Paul uses this same word (philotimeomai).
There is the ambition of daily toil-
"Be ambitious to be quiet, to
do your own business, to work with your own hands." (1Th 4:11-note)
In the age in
which the Apostles lived there was much unrest, and in the case of the
Christian Church this was still further increased by the expectation of the
approaching end of the world; many were inclined to surrender their ordinary
occupations, and give themselves up to restlessness and excitement, all of
which was prejudicial to the regular ordering of their homes and individual
lives, But the injunction is that we are not to yield to the ferment of
restlessness; we are not to be disturbed by the feverishness around us,
whether of social upheavals or for pleasure or gain.
The ambition to be well-pleasing to Christ.
judgment-seat (2Co 5:10) He will weigh up the worth of our individual mortal life, and
He is doing so day by day. Not only when we pass the threshold of death, but
on this side, our Lord is judging our character and adjudicating our reward.
Let us strive to be as well-pleasing to Him in this life, as we hope to be
in the next.
of Christian work--
"Being ambitious to preach the Gospel."
- (Ro 15:20-note)
The great world
lies open to us, many parts of it still unevangelized; and all around us in
our own country are thousands, among the rich and poor, who have no
knowledge of Christ. Let us make it our ambition to bring them to Him,
always remembering that the things we do for Christ must be that which He
works through us in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ro 15:18-note,
PRAYER -Give us grace, O Lord, to work while it is day, fulfilling
diligently and patiently whatever duty Thou appointest us; doing small
things in the day of small things, and great labours if Thou summon us to
any; rising and working, sitting still and suffering, according to Thy word.
Ray Pritchard in his comments on
in the Fear of God) has some interesting thoughts that should
motivate us to align our present earthly ambitions with those of Paul here
in 2Co 5:9...
1Pet 1:17 (note)
reminds us that we call on a Father who judges impartially. To call God our
Father is a comfort. To say that He is our judge isn’t quite so comforting.
God is judging you and me at this very moment. And because He is God, He
judges impartially. The word means without a mask (aprosopoleptos
[word study]). When God judges, He sees right through the
little masks we put on to make ourselves look better to others. God isn’t
And He judges us according to our works.
That concept troubles some people. “Aren’t we saved by faith?” Yes, we are.
We are saved by faith, but we are judged by our works. Don’t fall into the
trap of thinking that since you are saved by faith, your life doesn’t
matter. During the last presidential debates, one of the candidates reminded
us that faith without works is dead. He was quoting Jas 2:26-note. It was a good quote, and
rightly used. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6-note),
and the faith that pleases God will always produce a life of good works.
Christians, our works will be judged, not to determine our eternal destiny,
but to determine our rewards in heaven. The sad part about that is that some
people will discover in that day that they wasted their life on earth.
Because they built with “wood, hay and stubble,” they will see their life
burn up before them. Others will discover that because they built with
“gold, silver and precious stones,” their life will stand the test of God’s
fiery gaze at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15). No
Christian will escape the searching gaze of the Lord Jesus Christ. All roads
lead to the Judgment Seat of Christ.
What should we fear? We should fear living as though we don’t believe in God
at all. When we give in to anger, rage, malice, greed or lust, we are living
as if we don’t believe in God. When we turn to pornography to satisfy our
lust, when we let hurtful words fly out of our mouth, when we defraud each
other, when we seek revenge, when we lie about one another, when we forget
the hurting people around us while hoarding up treasure for ourselves, when
we have to be Number One and win every argument, every game, every
competition, when we cannot lose gracefully and with dignity, we are living
as if we don’t believe in God. When we complain about how persecuted we are,
when we moan about how hard we have it, when we gossip about how easy
someone else has it, we are living as if we don’t believe in God. At that
moment, we are practical atheists even though we may go to church every
In thinking about this principle, the words of a children’s song came to
Oh, be careful little hands what you do.
Oh, be careful little hands what you do.
For the Father up above is looking down in love.
in the Fear of God - Bolding and notes added)