Feb 13 — How the Lord Transforms our Lives


TLW06C for Sunday, February 13, 2022

How to live in God’s blessing

Psalm 1 — Setting the scene: prospering spiritually

Jeremiah 17:5–10 — How to live strong in the Lord not in the flesh

Luke 6:17–26 — Jesus teaches the kingdom basics to a diverse crowd

1 Corinthians 15:12–20 — The resurrection of Jesus is our certainty

Psalm 1 — Setting the scene: prospering spiritually

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Jeremiah 17:5–10 — How to live strong in the Lord not in the flesh

The folly of finding our own strength and ignoring the spiritual dimension

5 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

“Cursed” — attracting negative consequences, the opposite of blessed, see v.7

6 “That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

“Bush in the wastelands” — lit. juniper in the Arabah, a bush that shrivelled in the dry heat of the valley stretching south from the Dead Sea.

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

“Blessed” — attracting God’s favour, as stable in a life of faith as depending on one’s own strength is unstable.

“One who trusts in the Lord” — the blessing promised to the righteous man, is fulfilled in Christ the perfectly righteous man, and in those who are righteous in Him, Psalm 1:3; Acts 3:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

“Planted by the water” — with a deep lifestream that keeps it supplied, in contrast to the dying desert bush.

9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

“Heart is deceitful” — Jeremiah’s comment, the first of three wisdom sayings about the flawed nature of human personality.

• For further study: the Lord is able to heal and transform even such a broken and dysfunctional organ, and promises to do so under the new covenant, Jer. 31:33; Jer. 32:40; also see Ezek 36:26; Rom. 5:5; Heb. 10:22.

10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

“I the Lord search” — only the Lord knows how deceitful and wicked the human nature (our selfish motives) really are.

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.

“Riches desert them” — just as the sand grouse hatches eggs it didn’t lay, and the young birds soon leave the bird that is not their mother, wealth unjustly acquired easily evaporates, Proverbs 23:4–5.


SUMMARY A fundamental teaching, that will be expanded in the gospel and further in the letters, is that we are created physical, cerebral and also spiritual. The physical and cerebral part is basically self-seeking, and independent. True, holistic prosperity only comes by the spiritual route of choosing to trust the Lord and His leading.

APPLICATION The gospel is emerging from this passage. It describes the hope that comes from a trusting relationship with God, as well as the tug of the human flesh element and our capacity for self-deception. The reward that comes from conduct is about how God perceives the cause and effect, the actions and attitudes that have consequences, rather than any support of salvation by good works.

QUESTION What do vv.7 and 9 tell us about the remedy for fears and worries?

Luke 6:17–26 — Jesus teaches the kingdom basics to a diverse crowd

People had travelled from afar to receive His message and freedom

17–18 [Jesus] went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of His disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases.

“A level place” — or plateau on the hill; both the contents and the setting suggests Luke is giving a shorter version of the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5–7. He leaves out the portions that have to do with the Law, which are found elsewhere, suggesting that Jesus repeated his teaching on various occasions, Luke 11:2–4; 12:22–31, 33–34.

Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all.

“Healing them all” — the crowd did not gather to hear Jesus, they came with deep needs of deliverance from spiritual oppression and physical disease, through the power coming out from Jesus.

20 Looking at His disciples, He said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

“You who are poor” — in Matthew’s account it is “poor in spirit” and “hunger for righteousness, while Luke emphasises material poverty as well.

21 “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

“Blessed” — experiencing the joy and favour that comes from God’s grace

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

“Blessed… when people hate you” — with its associated woe, v.26, Jesus recalls how the prophets were rejected, while false prophets were popular. The implication is that Jesus’ growing rejection by religious authorities was part of His provenance as a true prophet.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24–25 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

“Rich… well fed” — the counterpart of poor and hungry, vv.20–21.

“Blessed…woe” — from the OT perspective, Israel is blessed in a covenant relationship, therefore woes are God’s judgment owing to unfaithfulness to the covenant. Jesus also describes God’s covenant people this way.

• For further study: blessed Deut. 33:29, Ps.33:12, Ps. 146:5; woe Isa. 5:8–15, Jer. 13:27, Amos 6:1, Hab. 2:12–17.

26 “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”


SUMMARY Sometimes called the Sermon on the Plain, this account of Jesus’ foundational teaching is parallel to the sermon on the Mount but without the parts relating to the law. It relates the blessing of heaven on actions and attitudes which align with the kingdom of heaven. By contrast, the comforts and popularity of the world are spiritually treacherous.

APPLICATION This is not about holiness through poverty and abstinence, in the way of medieval religiosity. It is rather about choosing, instead of material and reputational wealth, the values of heaven. Dramatic freedoms can accompany such a decision.

QUESTION What is Jesus calling for in this teaching, a change in our actions? Or something else?

1 Corinthians 15:12–20 — The resurrection of Jesus is our certainty

Paul, a first-hand witness, explains why the Living Lord is our faith and hope

12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

“Some of you say… no resurrection” — probably in their letter to him referred to in 1 Cor. 7:1. Greeks believed either that death was final, or in an immortality of the soul, but not in a possible bodily resurrection.

“Christ has been raised” — expressed in a verb form that conveys certainty, repeated in this passage six times from v.12–20

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

“If Christ has not been raised” — Jesus’ resurrection is a foundational truth for Christians; if that is a doubt, the preaching of the gospel is changed into a powerless philosophy.

15–16 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But He did not raise Him, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.

17–18 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.

“Still in your sins” — the resurrection of Jesus is proof of the sacrifice of Christ and the atonement of human sin, 1 Cor. 15:3; without that we are unforgiven and under the judgment of God for our sins, Romans 3:19; Eph. 2:1–13.

19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

“Most to be pitied” — without eternal life, Christians just suffer deprivation without the hope and joy of faithful believers who may suffer persecution but like Jesus and Paul, look beyond this life in anticipation and joy.

• For further study: Heb. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:16–18; Phil. 21–23; Phil. 3:7–11.

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

“First-fruits” — in the OT the first crop or sheaf of the harvest was presented to God to show that all the harvest belonged to Him, and would be shown so in dedicated lives, Exodus 23:19, Lev. 2:12. Similarly Christ raised from the dead is the guarantee of the resurrection of all God’s redeemed people, 1 Thess. 4:13–18. It is the beginning of the new creation of Isaiah 43:18–19, Isa. 65:17, Isa. 66:22. Jesus is the “firstborn from the dead”, Rev. 1:5.


SUMMARY Paul addresses a fundamental difficulty of reducing the salvation plan of God through Jesus to an intellectual philosophy. If Christ has not been raised, personal faith is negated — and so is the transformative power of faith to bring new and eternal life. But Christ has most certainly been raised, Paul emphasises with much repetition, and the apostles have testified to that as first-hand witnesses. This is the essence of Christian confident hope — Christ’s new and glorious life is our promise of new and eternal life in Him.

APPLICATION The spiritual rebirth and new life that is ours when we come to a heartfelt trust of Jesus as Saviour and Lord is the subject of relentless attack. Such opposition, and the alternative philosophies that are often heard from unregenerate religious leaders, are part of the provenance — this is vital, central, indispensable truth that is truly transformative. God is always at work on what is moribund and detached, to breathe in new life and to transform it. We have been given three pictures: (1) The confusion and self-deception which Jeremiah acknowledges, (2) the hatred of the world that Jesus refers to, and (3) the inability for some even in church positions to believe that Jesus was seen in bodily resurrection before ascending to heaven to rule and reign over His unseen kingdom. These are all the hallmark of the one still bitterly opposing the Lordship of Jesus. Such activity of the devil points us with certainty to the reality of Jesus’ victory and activity in our lives if we belong to Him as His believers and disciples.

QUESTION What are ways Christians gathering today can better celebrate God’s transforming actions, e.g. regular sharing of testimony stories?

PRAYER Lord, You are the overflowing well of living Water for those who have found new life in You, the refreshment that sustains us when we face desert situations, the blessing of Your scarred hands when we are insulted or rejected.
We never tire of saying, “Praise You, Lord Jesus, for You are alive!
And we have life, not in ourselves, but spiritually as part of Your body.
Show us. In the corner of the world we inhabit, where we can bring Your transformation and share Your love and life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


The Living Word for February 13, 2022, is a non-denominational Bible study which relies on the Bible explaining the Bible, uninfluenced by any church’s traditions or preferences, and following the Bible’s own sequence of progressive revelation. Read the whole passage first and let the Holy Spirit begin speaking to you through it, then go deeper with the verse by verse commentary and reflections. The week’s readings are as set by the Revised Common Lectionary, an inter-denominational resource shared by many different churches and chapels. The Bible version, widely used in contemporary churches, is the NIV © Biblica. Ref. TLW06C


PRINT EDITION There’s PDF print edition produced as a convenient Bible-sized folder which downloads from the link on the site below. Permission given to copy for your own use, home group, or discipling use in the church generally.




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Ian Greig

Husband+Father | Missional Christian | Author+ Speaker+Creator — offering ‘Faith without the Faff’ to encourage those not attracted to a formal club-like church