The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 3)

In this study we shall consider ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

What exactly is *heaven? and what is God’s will?

We have a pretty good understanding as to what the earth is, i.e., its physical and material constituents. In this age of the Internet, ‘Google Earth’ sets out in great detail the geographic nature of God’s special planet, and there are countless atlases that chart other features, such as climatic variations, world economies, mineral deposits, ocean currents, national boundaries etc..

How do we understand what is meant by ‘God’s will’?

If we are to engage in activities and have associations with fellow human beings, while at the same time endeavouring to act in accordance with God’s will, it is essential we know what His will is. Importantly, knowing His will, we must submit to Him under it. When we obey Him we are acting in accordance with His will.

God is **Sovereign; therefore His will of decree for the future will ‘be done’. We can have no influence in changing it, but we can try to determine what that will is from what He has said about it in His Word and through His Son. If we know what His will is for the present and for the future we can pray and act accordingly. He reigns as the Supreme Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and He uses our ***prayers within the context of His sovereignty. For as long as this earth remains (2 Peter 3:7, 10), and beyond into eternity in the New Jerusalem and the New Earth (Revelation 21:1, 2), God’s sovereign will will be done.

So as we pray, “Your will be done,” what are we actually praying?

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed for His Father’s will to be done (Luke 22:42), knowing full-well He was going to the cross to suffer an excruciating death (Matthew 26:2) and to be forsaken by His Father (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). His prayer was totally selfless. He knew He was going to die for His elect to save them from hell. He willingly gave His life for the forgiveness of their sins. In faith, and trusting His Father, as He hang on the cross, He ‘gave up His spirit (John 19:30),’ and after three days His Father raised Him from the dead (Act 2:24; Galatians 1:1).

Christ’s prayer of obedience was the sort of prayer God hears – such a prayer is said in accordance with His will.

The portion of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, “Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” affirms God’s will is done in heaven. In that glorious kingdom where God dwells with His Son there is no discord, no disobedience – only total accord and harmony. There, God’s will is done.

That was not always the case. From Job 4:18 we learn that God charged a number of His angels ‘with error’, because they rebelled against Him, and allied themselves with the devil (Matthew 25:41). God cast them to the earth along with the devil (Revelation 12:7, 9). Other sinful angels He ‘delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, 11).’

There are many aspects to prayer, but a major feature is worship. When the one praying adores God, loves Him and expresses his thanks and praise for all He has done and does, God is truly pleased. When His saints walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), God is truly pleased. When these things are being done, God’s will on earth is being done.


The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 2)

* Heaven

** Free Will and the Sovereignty of God

*** Prayer

Posted in Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 2)

Continuing from *Chapter 1, let us consider ‘hallowed be Your name’ and ‘Your kingdom come.’

To ‘hallow’ something or somebody is to make it or them ‘holy’. The most Holy Place for the Old Testament Israelites was the inner sanctuary of the Temple (1 Kings 6:16) where the High Priest would go once a year to atone for the sins of the people and for his own sins (Leviticus 16:6, 11). He would sprinkle the blood of a bull (Leviticus 16:14) and the blood of a goat (Leviticus 16:15) on the mercy seat. Aaron, the first High Priest who officiated at the tabernacle, was obliged to go through a number of sacrificial rituals on the Day of Atonement for placating the wrath of God upon the people and himself (Leviticus 16). These sacrifices of dead animals and the sprinkling of their blood were inadequate for the permanent forgiveness of their sins (Hebrews10:4).

Later, in New Testament times (Ephesians 3:1-7; 1 Peter1:20), it was revealed there was only one acceptable sacrifice that could be offered to God for the forgiveness of sins, and that was the shed blood of the Saviour (1 Peter 1:18, 19) that flowed from His body when He died on the cross for the elect (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). The perfection of holiness found in Jesus, His righteousness, is imputed (Romans 4:11) to those for whom He died and rose from the dead (Mark 16:6).

God is holy (Joshua 24:19); He is perfectly pure (Proverbs 30:5), immaculate in moral character, and without blemish. He has always been holy (Isaiah 6:3), and will remain so for evermore. He sanctifies His saints (Hebrews 2:11) by setting them apart in His holiness (1 Corinthians 6:11). To a certain extent they are conformed to His image. God confers holiness upon them for His purposes.

So how can we understand ‘hallowed be Your name’? Holiness is the central characteristic of God. He is holy (Joshua 24:19; Psalm 99:9). There is no person like Him. He is separate from, and vastly different to His creatures whom He has made to worship HIm. He is to be revered by them; therefore when they come into His presence for prayer, their disposition should be one of humility, gratitude, praise, thanksgiving and awe (Psalm 100).

Because of what Jesus has done for believers, they have unhampered access to the Father through His Son (Hebrews 10:19) who intercedes for them (1 John 2:1). They are empowered and sanctified by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:16).

In consideration of ‘Your kingdom come’, Jesus has already come to usher in His kingdom and **God’s kingdom, which are the same.

When holy Jesus comes again to the earth in glory and power (Mark 13:26, 27) He will place us who believe into His new kingdom. We shall have a share in His glory (Ephesians 1:18), as we shall be like Him and we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

From the moment of our salvation, we were spiritually transported into God’s holy kingdom (Mark 9:47), where Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1).

In our next study (Chapter 3) we shall consider ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’

* The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

** God’s Unified Kingdom

Posted in Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Lord’s Prayer (Chapter 1)

In my previous article on the subject of *prayer I mentioned what has come to be known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. I suggested it could be used as a paradigm for other prayers, since it has elements often found in prayers, such as reverence and respect for God and the desire for His will to be done.

Another subject I have touched on is **’meditation’, and quite often when we pray, we meditate upon God. So today I would like to embark on a series of articles devoted to meditating on the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.

Here is the prayer as set out in Matthew 6:9-13. [Note – there’s an almost identical version of the prayer in Luke 11:2-4.]

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors,

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Starting from the beginning of the prayer, ‘Our Father in heaven,’ what is the significance of ‘Father’ and ‘heaven’?

Well, both of them are extraordinary! Let’s first consider our relationship with the ‘Father’. How can God possibly be ‘Our’ Father (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6)? The biblical answer is that He has made us [those who believe] His sons in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 5:20). Christ is the begotten Son of God (John 1:18; Hebrews 1:5), and when we are ‘in Christ’ we become adopted sons of God (Ephesians 1:5). Christ is our Brother (Matthew 12:48-50). His royal blood was shed to bring us into that relationship (Luke 22:20).

We have no heavenly mother, but we do have the Father as our Father. He made us (Psalm 139:14); He conceived us (Psalm 139:13), and His Spirit gave birth to us (John 3:5-7). We have life in Him (John 14:6). He tells us He is our Father, and He looks after us as no other father could possibly do. He provides us with all our needs, and we look to Him for our sustenance here on earth, and for the promised inheritance to come in the new heaven (John 14:2, 3; 1 Peter 1:4).

The prayer commences with ‘Our Father in heaven’. To state the obvious, our Father God lives in heaven (Deuteronomy 26:15), but where is heaven, and what’s it like? Well, I’ve already written about it. [Click the link ***below.]

Jesus is there with the Father, sitting at His right hand (Matthew 26:64), where He intercedes for us. How much of this is figurative I do not know, especially as we Christians are already citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Our present citizenship is spiritual (John 4:24), and we are aliens on earth as we live in a physical kingdom. The future heavenly kingdom will have an entirely different structure and environment to that we experience here on earth.

It is reasonable to believe that the organic, physical and material structures of God’s original Paradise, the Garden of Eden, were identical to those of the Earth today. However, some biblical scholars believe the climate was dramatically changed because of the universal flood (Genesis 8:1—14). The world is wearing out and it is finite (Romans 8:21). It will end( 2 Peter 3:7). By contrast the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1) will never wear out or end (Revelation 22:5), nor will our new bodies and souls (John 3:36; 6:47).

For these things we praise our remarkable Father and His Son, who together dwell in Heaven and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (Romans 8:11).

In my next article I’ll be focussing on ‘hallowed be Your name’ and ‘Your kingdom come.’

* Prayer

** Meditation

*** Heaven

Posted in Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jesus and the ‘I AM’ Proclamations

Exodus 3:14 ‘And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent Me to you.’”

No one could have had a better insight as to who Jesus is than John the Apostle. John was one of three very close disciples. The other two were Peter and James. All three of them were present at His *transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). In his gospel, John testified: ‘we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).’

When Jesus died, John was there at the foot of the cross (John 19:26), and later, after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to John and six other disciples by the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14).

At the suggestion of Peter, the disciples had gone fishing, but they caught nothing. In the morning light they saw Jesus standing on the shore nearby. At first, they did not recognise Him. He told them to cast the net on the right side of the boat, whereupon they caught so many fish they were unable to draw them in. Immediately, John, ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:20),’ knew it was Jesus, and he told Peter. Peter couldn’t wait to get to Him; so he jumped into the sea and waded ashore (v 7).

The point I wish to make is that John had a very close relationship with Jesus. He knew Him well. For him there wasn’t a shadow of doubt that Jesus was who He claimed to be – the Son of God, the Son of the great ‘I AM’. Being the second Person of the Godhead, He was Immanuel – “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Knowing this, John was compelled to write his gospel for the world to know that Jesus, God [Theos] Himself (John 1:1) had come. He was both the Messiah and Saviour (John 4:42; 1 John 4:14). John was a witness to what he had seen, touched (1 John 1:1) and heard – namely the Lord Jesus. He wanted people to believe his testimony (John 20:31) so that they may have life in Jesus (v 31). John vouched his testimony was true (John 21:24).

In addition to recording seven **miracles [signs] that Jesus did, John also tells of seven ‘I AM’ proclamations He made about Himself and His relationship with His ‘sheep’.

Jesus’ Seven ‘I AM’ Proclamations

1) 6:35 ‘“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”’

2) 8:12 ‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’

3) 10:9 ‘“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and I will go in and out and find pasture.”’

4) 10:11 ‘“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for his sheep.”’

5) 11:25, 26 ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”’

6) 14:6 ‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”’

7) John 15:5 ‘“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.’’

What is your response?

Now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).’

* The Transfiguration

** Seven Miracles/Signs performed by Jesus

2:1-11 Changing water into wine at Cana.

4:46-54 Healing the official’s son at Capernaum.

5:1-15 Healing the paralytic at Bethesda.

6:5-14 Feeding the 5,000.

6:16-24 Jesus walking on water.

9:1-7 Healing the blind man.

11:1-45 Raising Lazarus from death.

Posted in Revelation, Salvation, Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Angels – God’s and Satan’s

Isn’t it strange that people can believe in God, yet they can’t believe in angels? Angels are essential agents of God whom He uses for various purposes. They are part of God’s created order, and mostly they live with Him in heaven (Matthew 24:36).

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words defines an angel (angelos) as ‘a messenger’.

According to Hebrews 2:7, man is ‘a little lower than the the angels’. This is probably better understood if one uses the alternative text given in the New King James Bible, i.e., ‘for a little while lower than the angels.’ [for a little while – until the new creation of Revelation 21:1] In view of 1 Corinthians 6:3, it could be that in the new heaven, when the redeemed will judge angels, they will be subservient to the redeemed.

Angels are intelligent beings, and they are curious about God’s purposes and intentions (1 Peter 1:12).  According to Job 4:18 God charges a number of His angels ‘with error’ – and I’m not surprised; for some rebelled against Him and allied themselves with the devil (Matthew 25:41) who was cast to the earth along with his angels (Revelation 12:7, 9).

There were other angels who sinned, and God cast them down to hell, and ‘delivered [them] into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, 11).’

In sharp contrast to the fallen angels, there are others who are ‘holy’ (Luke 9:26) and ‘elect’ (1 Timothy 5:21).

God’s ministering angels are ‘spirits’ (Psalm 10:44), and although they do not have material bodies like ours, they can make their presence felt by touching or striking a person (Acts 12:23). They are ministering ‘spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation’ (Hebrews 1:14).

One such angel appeared to Cornelius in a vision (Acts 10:3). He was sent from God to deliver a message to him. Because of Cornelius’ obedience, and that of Peter the Apostle, a chain of events followed which led to the salvation of Cornelius, his family and thousands of other Gentiles (Acts 10).

Some very remarkable miracles took place in the presence of angels who played their parts in them. One such miracle happened to Peter. When in prison he was freed by *’an angel of the Lord’ (Acts 12:7-12). A similar miracle happened to a number of apostles who were in a different prison at a different time (Acts 5:17-19).

Perhaps the most well known appearance of an angel was at the ‘annunciation’, i.e., the visitation of the angel Gabriel to Mary: ‘Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.” He told her she would, ‘bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS (Luke 1:26-31).’

An angel also appeared to Joseph: ‘But while he thought about these things; behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).”’

After Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness He was attended to by angels: ‘Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him (Matthew 4:11).’ When He was in agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and ‘His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground’, ‘an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him (Luke 22:43).’

That’s not the end of the story. At the second advent Jesus will come with His angels who ‘will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31).’ Coming ‘in the glory of His Father and with His angels, He will reward each according to his works (Matthew16:27).’

Finally, He will send out His angels, ‘and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practise lawlessness, and He will cast them into the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:41, 42).”’

* The Angel of the Lord

Posted in Salvation, Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Cursed of God

People are happy to be blessed of God, but very unhappy to be cursed of HIm. Indeed, they are surprised that God could curse those He has made; especially a God of love (1 John 4:8). But the Bible does not lie (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20). God does not lie (Exodus 34:6: Psalm 31:5; Isaiah 65:16). His Son is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). However, we need only look at certain passages in the Old Testament to discover that God does curse those who disobey Him (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

People are not happy that God can do what He *likes with them, the earth and the universe – all of them made by Him (Colossians 1:16). They are His, but it is not His desire that people should perish (2 Peter 3:9). He is a God of mercy, a God of forgiveness, a God of compassion (Micah 7:18, 19), and yes, a God of love (1 John 4:8). He saves a **people for Himself, but those who are not saved are destined for ***hell.

God is Sovereign; He is just and righteous (Psalm 11:7; Isaiah 30:18). He can only do what is right, and He must punish sinners (Genesis 18:25; Exodus 32:34). He ****blesses those who love Him,  and conversely He curses those who hate Him (Leviticus 24:15, 16). He has every right to bless and to curse. Who are we to judge Him? Jesus tells us not to judge others; for when we do, we judge ourselves (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37). God is the Judge of the universe. He is also King of the universe (John 18:36, 37). Only He is capable of righteous judgment, to pronounce one guilty or not guilty (Revelation 20:11-15).

God exonerates the elect. He finds them not guilty of rebellion, and He remembers their sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12, 17). He sees them as He sees His Son who became a curse for them and suffered in their place for their redemption (2 Corinthians 5:21). Through this act of mercy God’s justice is satisfied.

For the integrity of His justice He must punish the unrighteous who are not saved by grace. They will not join the elect in the kingdom of God; instead they will find themselves with the cursed in hell (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8). Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 6: 9 and 10 tells us who they are: ‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, not idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.’

None of them shall enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22-27).

The Curses of God

Moses spoke to God’s special people (Deuteronomy 26:18) the commands of God (v16). In Deuteronomy 28:15 Moses said, “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all the commandments and the statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:15).”

Thereupon he enumerated the curses and punishments that would come upon the disobedient (Deuteronomy 28:16-68).

In Galatians 3:10-14 Paul tells us that those who are under the law are cursed. They are not justified ‘in the sight of God (v 11), but Christ, ‘having become a curse’  redeemed those with faith in Him. He took upon Himself the full penalty of God’s curse so that the blessing of Abraham would come upon them (Genesis 12:1-3).

God does not curse His New Testament people, i.e., His Church; instead He blesses them (Ephesians 1:3), and He bestows upon them His favour and grace.


If you are not a Christian, take heart; repent and believe (Mark 1:15), and you will receive God’s blessings.

* Free Will and the Sovereignty of God

** Who are the Church? [The People of God]

*** Hell

**** The Blessed of God

Posted in Obedience, Salvation, Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Blessed of God

‘Now the LORD had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”’ (Genesis 12:1-3)

The initiative comes from the LORD. He is the One who blesses those whom He chooses. Paul writes in Galatians 3:8:  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.’

God blesses those to whom He gives faith (Ephesians 1:3; 2:8, 9) in His Son. Therefore every single believer is blessed of God, but what is His blessing?

Abram, renamed Abraham by God (Genesis 17:5), is known as the Father of Faith (Romans 4:11) for his trust in God and his obedience to Him. This same faith, trust and obedience in Christians brings blessings from God (Galatians 3:14). He gives them His favour [grace] and spiritual happiness; He makes them prosperous in the knowledge of Him (John 10:10), and He cares for their wellbeing (1 Peter 5:7), as they enjoy loving Him and worshipping Him (John 4:23, 24).

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes [blessings] proclaimed by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-11 reveal the nature of those who receive them.

v 3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

Those who are ‘poor in spirit’ come to God recognising their need of Him and their spiritual wretchedness without His forgiveness. They repent (Matthew 4:17), and God welcomes them into His kingdom (Matthew 11:28).

v 4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.’

Paul the Apostle in 2 Corinthians 7:10 describes the condition of those who ‘mourn’ and are comforted. God responds to their sorrow and gives them life:‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.’  God gives them life.

v 5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’

The Greek word used here for ‘meek’ is interpreted, ‘humble or gentle’.

Jesus was both (Philippians 2:8). He invites the meek to embrace His yoke of gentleness (Matthew 11:29). Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23).

v 6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.’

Those who have it in their heart to seek the righteousness of God will find great satisfaction in Him. He will provide them with all they need (Genesis 22:14; Matthew 6:11).

v 7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.’

Those who forgive will be forgiven by God who is merciful (Exodus 34:6). James, in  2:13 states that, ‘Mercy triumphs over judgment.’

v 8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’

The inward pursuit of purity in all matters, and a burning desire for being pure, will bring one face to face with the Lord – Revelation 22:4 ‘They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.’

v 9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.’

God is the God of peace (Hebrews 13:20; Romans 16:20) and those who practice and strive to bring about peace are like Him; hence they are called ‘sons of God’.

v 10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

These are courageous Christians who remain faithful when they are being opposed by the ungodly: they may be abused, bullied, beaten, tortured (2 Corinthians 11:23-25) and even martyred for their faith (Acts 7:59; 12:2).

James explains how such people are ultimately blessed:

My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful (James 5:10, 11).’

The ‘blessed of God’ are those who receive His mercy and grace. They are loved by Him (John 16:37; 1 John 4:10, 16) and He gives them eternal life in His Son (John 11:25).

If you are not a Christian, take heart; repent and believe (Mark 1:15), and you will receive God’s blessings.

Posted in Obedience, Salvation, Scriptural Theme, Scripture, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment