1 Peter 4:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

7 Now the end of all things is at hand; therefore be sound in mind, and well balanced in prayers.

We had spoken of the “last days” at length earlier. The reason Peter could say, “The end of all things is at hand,” is that the life, ministry, ransom, sacrificial death of Jesus Christ has initiated the “last days.”[1] (1 Cor. 10:11; 1 John 2:18) Jesus, Paul, Peter, James and John spoke and wrote as though the end of the wicked age of Satan and the inherited Adamic sin were about to end. (Matt 24:36–25:46; Rom 13:11–12; Phil 4:5; Heb. 10:23–25; Jas 5:7–8; Rev 1:3; 22:10) In the middle of verse 7 is “therefore,” which introduces the need to be sound in mind and well balanced in prayer, because the end of all things being at hand.

Back in Genesis 3:15, God had set his redemption plan in motion, saying that he was going to send a seed, who would end up being a Savior, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David. Jesus’ life, ministry, and especially his ransom sacrifice (Matt 20:28), redeemed repentant humankind from Adamic sin.[2] This set in motion the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should live as though Jesus’ return is tomorrow, but plan as though it is 50-years away. We learned in chapter 1 that this means that we live as though Christ is returning tomorrow, by walking with God, having a righteous standing before him. We plan as though it is 50-years away by living a life that makes plans for a long-term evangelism program that fulfills our end of the Great Commission. (Matt 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) We do not just evidence that we are truly Christian by saying that we have faith in the hope of Jesus’ future return. The evident demonstration is in how that hope affects our human lives each day. As we wait the day of his return, we need to focus our lives on the task of carrying out the work he gave us.

What does it mean to be “sound in mind”? In view of Christ’s return, where should the Christian mind be focused? The Greek word nepho, for “sound in mind” is rendered as follows by other translations: “sober-minded” (English Standard Version), “remain calm” (The New American Bible), “sane” (Revised Standard Version), “be of sound judgment” (New American Standard). Paul also uses the same Greek word under a similar context, when he writes, “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (1 Thess. 5:6, ESV) Other translations have “be self-controlled” (LEB), and “be serious” (HCSB). The sense of the word is that, we need to ‘keep our senses.’ However, in relation to what should we be sober-minded, serious-minded, sound in mind, possessing self-control, using sound judgment, keeping our senses?

First on [Peter’s] list of priorities is purposeful prayer. Such prayer must be clear minded and self-controlled. To “be clear minded” suggests that believers pray intelligently or that they think about and evaluate their situations in life maturely and correctly as they begin to pray about them. In light of the context, perhaps Peter was cautioning them against giving way to eschatological frenzy and panic. To be “self-controlled” as one comes to prayer suggests that believers are to pray with a mind that is focused and alert. In other words, prayer should not be practiced nonchalantly or flippantly. Believers are to take prayer seriously.[3]

Peter’s words here in 4:7 are typical of expressing “last days” information to readers. Many Christian leaders throughout the centuries have set dates for the return of Christ, and almost no denomination is free from doing this. Many Bible scholars throughout Christian history have made charts to map out the return of Christ. There is not one single verse in the New Testament that suggests anyone do this, so these ones have gone beyond the Word of God. The purpose of these “last days” verses throughout the New Testament is to keep the reader awake, because he does not know the day or the hour, the exact time. Christians are to live in a heightened expectation of Jesus’ return, making Christ their priority, until that day is upon us.–Matt 24:36–25:46; Rom 13:11–14; 1 Cor. 15:58; Phil 4:4–9; 1 Thess. 5:1–11; 2 Pet 3:11–16.

We Are to Be Sound in Mind

The Christians who walked with Jesus, who witnessed his execution, and his resurrection, as well as his ascension, were very alert for his return decade after decade. Even thirty years after Jesus ascension, Peter is telling the people “the end of all things is at hand.” Peter did not tire of waiting, nor did he stop believing as though it were imminent. This is when he offers the critical advice to “be sound in mind.”

The Greek nepho, “sound in mind” is literally “sober-minded.” In other words, it means to think properly. Yes, figuratively, it means to “be free from every form of mental and spiritual ‘drunkenness.”[4] This is not literal drunkenness, but rather any irrational thinking, which may give you the wrong perception. This is sort of a spiritual clear-headedness when it comes to our worship of God. If we are thinking properly, we will better understand, perceive what the will and purposes of God are, and then apply them accordingly. Reasonably, we walk by self-control and steadiness in sound thinking, our outlook, and behavior, in our seeking the kingdom of God.

Keep Seeking Kingdom First

Matthew 6:33-34; 7:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

33 But be you seeking[5] the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own wickedness.

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

We need ‘to be renewed in the spirit of our mind.’ Because we have inherited sin and imperfection, as well as a sinful nature, our thinking naturally drifts toward fleshly things not spiritual thinking. Our sinful nature contributes toward our stumbling in thought, word, and deed. (Rom. 7:14-20; James 3:2) Therefore, when a person receives Jesus Christ he is also renewed in the spirit of his mind, or a new mental disposition, which will move him to think properly, spiritually not fleshly. Of course, this being renewed in the spirit of our mind needs to feed on the Word of God, if it is to be effective as a guide. When the Christian mind is presented with choices like music, movies, television, internet, clothing, career opportunities, forms of recreation, education, or whatever else occupies our time and effort, our thinking must be based on a Scriptural basis, a spiritual mindset, not our sinful nature, that is, or fleshly desires. One cannot draw on a biblical mindset, if he has never taken the Word of God into his mind. If he has only been halfhearted in his personal studies, preparedness for Christian meetings and evangelism, his ability to make decisions will be based on that half-heartedness. On the other hand, if he has given his all, this new mental disposition will enable him to make sound decisions based first on his biblically sound mind, second his love of God, third his love of neighbor, and fourth, because he keeps in mind that “the end of all things is at hand.”

Being “sound in mind” does not mean that have been educated in the universities of this world. God said, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” (1 Cor. 1:19) Being sound in mind means that we need ‘to be renewed in the spirit of our minds.’ (Eph. 4:23) “How? You are what you think. You move in the direction of what you put into your mind and what you allow your mind to dwell on.”[6] Being sound in mind implies that we are aware of our spiritual needs, and we are taking steps toward becoming and remaining spiritually healthy. (Tit. 2:2; Jer. 3:15)

Being Sound in Mind Is a Protection

Without being sound in mind, the chances are far greater that we will stumble off the path of life.

Romans 7:21-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 I find then the law in me that when I want to do right, that evil is present in me. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and taking me captive in the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh, I serve the law of sin.

Notice in the above that Paul references “the law of [his] mind.” For a person who has a strong faith, that law of his mind is ruled by a phenomenon that he delights in, namely “the law of God.” Certainly, we see that “the law of sin” is waging a war against the law of the mind. Nevertheless, the Christian can conquer “the law of sin” with the help of God. Paul goes on to say in verse 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” On Romans 7:21-25, Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier write,

7:21–23. Here Paul uses the law motif to illustrate from another angle the conflict he experiences. Two laws are mentioned: the law of my mind (his desire to obey God’s law), and the law of sin (that which wars against the law of his mind). He states a principle by which these two laws conflict with one another: when I want to do good, evil is right there with me. All of us can identify with the apostle’s succinct summary of the spiritual experience.

Not only Paul, but all believers, have “left undone those things which we ought to have done.” And as the Anglican confession rightly concludes (“there is no health in us”), Paul is about to explode with his own spiritual diagnosis.

One of the results of the gospel is that it delivers us from the condemnation of the law. “Of what use then is the Law? To lead us to Christ, the Truth—to waken in our minds a sense of what our deepest nature, the presence, namely, of God in us, requires of us—to let us know, in part by failure, that the purest efforts of will of which we are capable cannot lift us up even to the abstaining from wrong to our neighbor” (George MacDonald, in Lewis, p. 20).

The law did its perfect work in the apostle Paul, reviving his soul (Ps. 19:7a). It convicted him of his sin and showed him that the only deliverance for him was Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul could call the law a “tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith” (Gal. 3:24, NASB). That is exactly what the law did for him. Once delivered from the law, Paul was able to serve the ends of the law—righteousness—in the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:6).

Paul summarizes the entire chapter—the conflict of the believer that causes him or her to remain dependent upon the Spirit—in the final verse. When it is Paul the believer talking, he makes himself a slave to God’s law. But when his sinful capacity speaks out, he is a slave to the law of sin. As mentioned in this chapter earlier, it is a shame that chapter divisions in our Bibles cause us to “stop” at certain points in the consideration of the text. While this is a logical point in the flow of Paul’s thought for a pause, Romans 7 and 8 should be read together. Immediately, Paul moves from wretchedness to victory in declaring that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set him “free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). The gospel is indeed good news, delivering the believer from death by law to life by grace through the Spirit.[7]

Romans 8:5-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the SpiritFor setting the mind on the flesh is death, but setting the mind on the spirit is life and peace because setting the mind on the flesh means enmity toward God, for it is not subjected to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

In the above, Paul contrasts the difference between a person who “set their minds on the things of the flesh,” which are those who “live according to the flesh,” as opposed to those who “set their minds on the things of the Spirit,” which are those “who live according to the Spirit.” Then in verses 10 and 11, Paul goes on to clarify how the mind that joins forces with Holy Spirit is victorious in battle. He writes, “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Romans 8:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry out, “Abba![8] Father!” 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, we are also heir, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.

8:15–16. Paul declares that believers are children of God in whom there should be no fear. What is the fear that Paul says has been removed by the presence of the Spirit of God? Essentially and psychologically, it probably comes closest in our modern era to the codependent person or the addict getting well. Oftentimes people fear losing what has provided their identity for a significant period of time. Just as a former smoker has to learn what to do with his or her hands when nervous or in a social setting, so the new believer fears a new relationship as a child of God. The void left by the absence of sin will be filled by the Spirit and works of righteousness in time, but there is an initial fear. Several passages of Scripture provide insight:

1 Corinthians 2:12: “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (emphasis added). Do nonbelievers, those who have the “spirit of the world,” live in fear of God and of the unknown? Yes, in their heart of hearts. They fear death, hell, judgment, eternity, punishment—not to mention tomorrow and what it might take from them. You will not find fear being discussed on talk shows, but you will find it being covered up through frantic forays into materialism, sex, substance abuse, depression, and other denial-oriented diversions. When the children of God recognize their position, instead of being afraid of life and God, their eyes are open to what God has freely given them.

2 Timothy 1:7: Instead of “a spirit of timidity” (fear), we have been given the Holy Spirit, who is love, power, and self-discipline. Rather than living in fear of life and what it may hold, the Holy Spirit’s love, power, and self-discipline through us gives us a whole new perspective on life.

Matthew 7:9–11: Children of God do not receive booby prizes or gag gifts from their Father. Even evil fathers know how to give appropriate gifts to their children; how much more will the “Father in heaven” give his children good gifts?

Paul himself provides the best illustration. Instead of a spirit of fear, we have received a spirit of sonship, or adoption. Adoption is a strictly Pauline metaphor, one common to him and his readers in Rome, due to the practice of adoption in the Roman Empire. Paul says in Ephesians 1:5 that adoption is a sovereign act of God, the result of his predestined pleasure and will. In Galatians 4:5–7, he repeats much of what he says in our Romans text, with one important addition: “That we might receive the full rights of sons” (Gal. 4:5). Therein lies the heart of sonship, or adoption. One who was not a natural son is adopted by a father and given every legal right of sonship held by the natural sons. He is made an heir of the father, and given equal standing (often a more privileged standing) with the father’s natural progeny.

Because Paul does not expand the metaphor in detail, the careful expositor will not do so either, pushing cultural aspects of Roman adoption into the realm of sanctification. But the key point—legal standing as a child of God, is fully represented by Paul’s adoption metaphor: Jesus Christ is God’s (only) natural Son and believers are adopted into the family of God and made “heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17).

As an adoption record in a court of law receives a stamp, seal, or signature verifying its authenticity, and validating the adoptee’s rights from that day forward, so the believer is given a seal by God. The Holy Spirit is given to believers to be a “deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:22). “Having believed,” Paul says, we were “marked in [Christ] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). In Romans Paul says that the Holy Spirit plays a unique role, testifying with the spirit of the believer that we are God’s children. By the presence and power of the Spirit, we call out to God in a personal way, Abba, Father. The Spirit gives us that liberty in our spirits because we know from him that we are God’s children.

Variant forms of the Aramaic Abba can be heard in the Israeli and Arab marketplaces of today as young children call to their fathers in the hustle and bustle of the crowded market. Abba, or “daddy,” represents the familiar cry of the heart from one who knows who the father is. Because it is the Spirit of God who is given to believers, the heart of the child is linked with the heart of the Father in permanent intimacy.

But the believer is not just a child of God, but an heir of God as well. Being a child means that I have a family now; being an heir means I am included in the family forever.

8:17. No more dramatic validation of our status as co-heirs with Christ can be found than that which came through the Son’s own request to the Father. First, Christ told his Father that he had given the disciples the glory that had been given to him (John 17:22). The purpose of that was that the unity (solidarity) of believers with Christ might be evident to all the world, and that the Father’s love for believers was the same as his love for the Son (John 17:23). Finally, Christ asked the Father: “I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). Christ offers to share his own inheritance, his glory, with those whom the Father has given to him, meaning the disciples and all who would believe in him.

But there is a “catch.” Coheirs will share in glory only in the same manner in which the heir achieves glory. In the case of Christ, it was through suffering. The NIV’s if indeed is not a condition in the Greek text, but rather a fact, adopted coheirs share in all the inheritance of the son. If suffering is the son’s portion, then it will likewise be the portion of the adopted coheirs. But Paul never shrunk from this inheritance in his own life, and encourages the believers in Rome to view their past, present, and future sufferings for the cause of Christ as part of their sonship.

If the son learned obedience through suffering, so will the adopted sons (Heb. 5:8). If the son carried around in his body the persecutions of the public, so will the adopted sons (2 Cor. 4:10). If the son grew weak under persecutions without losing heart, so are the adopted sons called to do likewise (2 Cor. 4:16). It is conformity to the son that the adopted sons are gaining day by day as we “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). We are called to share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.[9]

Galatians 4:6-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Therefore, the primary indication that one is a true Christian is the presence of the Spirit within the believer or this dominant sense of having been adopted as sons, specifically, of having been begotten by God as spiritual sons. The Spirit’s being there regenerates the human spirit [mental disposition]. Moreover, the presence of the Spirit, in the future, will regenerate the believer’s mortal body, that is, restoring to humankind perfection of organism and the opportunity of eternal life. On Galatians 4:6-7, Max Anders, writes,

4:6. As son and heir, each Christian receives the Holy Spirit, the down payment of his or her inheritance (Eph. 1:14). The Holy Spirit moves believers to pray to God as Abba, Father. Abba is the equivalent of “Daddy.” It shows the closeness children of grace have with their Father. No slave of the law had such an intimate relationship. That intimate relationship comes through the Spirit not through the law.

4:7. Paul concludes that the Galatians were no longer slaves but were sons and heirs. Thus, under grace we have progressed from being slaves to being sons and heirs. Grace is adulthood. Law is childhood. With the privileges of adulthood, why regress back to the law?[10]

Consequently, if we are “sound in mind,” we will not fall victim to Satan’s world that caters to the fleshly desires. If we are “sound in mind,” we will “flee from sexual immorality.” (1 Cor. 6:18) If we are “sound in mind,” we will “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Matt. 6:33) This soundness of mind will strengthen us against anything that might jeopardize our relationship with God.

Be Anxious for Nothing

Psalm 54:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my soul.

54:4 The psalmist has called upon God. He has stated the cause of his concern—godless men threaten his life. Now he makes a confession of faith and expresses confidence that God will deliver him. Surely God is my help. At the very time the enemy threatens, the psalmist acknowledges help from God. “Look!” he says, or “See!” (הִנֵּה, hinnēh) “God is helping me” (the Hebrew participle). Continuing the verse, we would translate: “The Lord (Adonai) is my sustainer of life.” This is preferable to “the sustainer of my life” since it focuses more upon the essential nature of God as the sustainer of life—of all life and not just my own: the Lord is the one who sustains me. That I am sustained is cause for personal rejoicing. That it is the universal sustainer of life who sustains me is the emphasis and the cause for greater wonder and praise.[11]

James 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

4:8. Come near to God involves approaching God in worship and commitment. Those who approach God in the obedience of worship find that he comes near to them. As our knowledge of the Lord deepens, we learn more fully his strength, power, and guidance for godly living.

Wash your hands uses the language of religious ceremony in a moral sense (see Exod. 30:19–21). We cleanse our hands by withdrawing them from all evil actions and compromises. Perhaps obedience to this command called more for cleansing the outward life, while purify your hearts called for an inner purification (see 1 John 3:3). The language here is soaked with words from Psalm 24:3–4 calling for believers to have “clean hands and a pure heart.”

Double-minded people follow the practices of the world while they pretend to hold to God. Such people lack the purity of heart and focused purpose which the Lord wants in his disciples. The solution for this serious condition is a commitment of the entire personality to Christ and a fresh seeking of the power of the Holy Spirit.[12]

Philippians 4:4-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be made known to all men. The Lord is at hand.[13] In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds[14] in Christ Jesus.

4:4–5 First, Paul commanded the Philippians to rejoice. He repeated the command immediately, thereby emphasizing its importance. Their joy was to be in the Lord, and it was to be unchanging. The circumstances of Paul’s life reminded him of the joy available in the Lord, and he wished that joy for them as well. Paul knew that no situation is beyond the Lord’s help. Christians can always rejoice in that, if nothing else.

Second, Paul exhorted them to gentleness. No single word translates epi-eikes well, and commentators consistently insist that the word contains an element of selflessness. The gentle person does not insist on his rights. “It is that considerate courtesy and respect for the integrity of others which prompts a man not to be for ever standing on his rights; and it is preeminently the character of Jesus (2 Cor 10:1).” The word occurs in Paul’s writing as a characteristic of Christian leaders (1 Tim 3:3, of bishops; Titus 3:2). Fairness and magnanimity were to be developed so that they were visible to all. They were to characterize the church. Paul made this emphatic by reminding them that the Lord was at hand. The statement sobers Christians for two reasons: He will come as judge, expecting to see this quality in his people; having personified the quality himself, he knows what it is like.

4:6 The third command is negative, but it has a positive thrust: “Do not be anxious about anything.” Jesus spoke about anxiety in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:25–34), where he stated the most common causes of anxiety. They are: physical attributes (v. 27); clothing (v. 28); food and drink (v. 31); and the future (v. 34). Even in contemporary life with its complexities, the same simple concerns cause anxiety. Prayer cures anxiety. Here three words describe prayer. Each contributes to a proper understanding of the comprehensive nature of the prayer life. The point, however, is that prayer relieves the problem of anxiety. The center of the verse is the significant part: Prayer is to be offered “with thanksgiving.” The attitude of gratitude accompanies all true approaches to the Father.

4:7 The answer to anxiety is the peace of God. Paul made three statements about this peace. First, it is divine peace. He did not envision a situation where circumstances changed or external needs were met. This peace was a characteristic of God which invaded the Christian. Second, it “transcends all understanding.” “Transcends” translates the word hyperechousa (“excellent”), which is found in 2:3; 3:8, and here in a compound form. Paul contrasted knowledge and peace at one point: Peace excels over knowledge. No doubt he had in mind situations where knowledge is insufficient. Sometimes it cannot explain, and sometimes explanations do not help. Peace, however, is always appropriate and meets the need of the heart. Finally, this peace will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” “Guard” is a military term, implying that peace stands on duty to keep out anything that brings care and anxiety. For these reasons, prayerful people are peaceful people.[15]

Psalm 55:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 Cast your burden on Jehovah,
and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
the righteous to be shaken.

55:22 The psalm ends, however, on a note of confidence. To appreciate this, one needs to recall the psalmist’s experience—his appeals to God; the oppression, the iniquity and the wrath of his enemies; the terrors, the fear; trembling and horror he has known; his desire for flight that was denied him; and especially his betrayal by his friend. Through all of this he has come. But instead of having been crushed by the ordeal, he has a testimony to give—glorious good news to share. Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. The “cares” is better understood as “your given lot,” meaning your portion in life. Of course, such may have become a “care” or “burden.” And note that the promise is not that the burden is sure to be removed, nor that God will carry it for us. But he will sustain the one who trusts in him, enabling him to bear it. Understandably, this opening statement of verse 22 has become one of the most cherished found in the Psalms.[16]

1 Timothy 4:9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

The statement is trustworthy and deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on a living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially faithful ones. 11 Keep commanding and teaching these things.

4:9–10. Spiritual growth and nourishment and disciplines for godliness do not exist in a vacuum. They must be grounded in the living Christ. Paul underscored this idea by stating, This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. This is the thing for which the apostles and followers of Christ labor and strive. They had one purpose in their work. They committed themselves to one urgent and pressing goal—the spread of the gospel.

Their hope was not in performance, legalisms, or mere talk. The touchstone of faith for all who believe is that hope is placed in the living God, who is the Savior of all men. The God we follow is living, interactive, and present in our lives. Our confidence rests in a God who is ever-living.

Since only God is the Savior of all people, only one message brings hope to the human condition. If there is only one way by which people can be saved into a new realm of God’s rule and righteousness, then it is imperative that we tell others about this way.

Although God is the Savior of all, not everyone will be saved. Abiding trust is the requisite for such salvation. He is the Savior especially of those who believe. There will be those who refuse, some who cling to idols. They will fulfill Jonah’s ancient and prophetic voice, “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs” (Jon. 2:8).

Those who put their hope in the living God acknowledge the truth and embrace the truth. They believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” and know that “by believing [they] have life in his name” (John 20:31). We do not believe and then add works to our faith, just to make sure. We do not believe and then make up additional rules for righteousness. We put full trust in Christ, resting in his righteousness.

Our spiritual discipline and godly training are designed not to gain favor with God but to reinforce our trust in him.

4:11. Paul’s instruction was for Timothy and all church leaders to command and teach others about the Savior. Grace is no side issue. Legalism is no weak enemy. Rules are great for discipline but not for righteousness.[17]

Review Questions

  • When did the “last days” begin?
  • Why does just saying, “I have faith,” not enough, and what should be evidence of that faith?
  • What does it mean to be “sound in mind”? In view of Christ’s return, where should the Christian mind be focused?
  • In relation to what should we be sober-minded, serious-minded, sound in mind, possessing self-control, using sound judgment, keeping our senses?
  • What does the Greek nepho, “sound in mind” literally mean? Expound
  • Why do we need ‘to be renewed in the spirit of our mind’?
  • As to this being renewed in the spirit of our mind, why do we need to feed on the Word of God?
  • How are we renewed in the spirit of our minds? What does being sound in mind imply?
  • What should the ‘law of our mind’ be ruled by?
  • What is waging a war against the law of the mind, and can it be conquered?
  • What is the difference between a person who “set their minds on the things of the flesh,” as opposed to those who “set their minds on the things of the Spirit”?
  • What is the primary indication that one is a true Christian?
  • What does this ‘soundness of mind’ strengthen us against?
  • What Scriptures help us appreciate that we need not be anxious over our current imperfection and this wicked age that we live in?


[1] In the OT the last days are anticipated as the age of messianic fulfillment (see Is 2:2; Mic 4:1), and the NT writers regard themselves as living in the last days, the era of the gospel.–Tyndale Bible Dictionary (p. 801) http://biblia.com/books/tynbibdct/Page.p_801

[2] Adamic sin is imperfection, what all humans have inherited from Adam.

[3] http://biblia.com/books/hntc81pe/1Pe4.8

[4] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., 672 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000).

[5]  Gr., zeteite; the verb form indicates continuous action.

[6] http://biblia.com/books/hntc69ga/Eph4.23

[7] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 231–232.

[8] “Abba” means “father” in Aramaic

[9] Kenneth Boa and William Kruidenier, Romans, vol. 6, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 254–256.

[10] Max Anders, Galatians-Colossians, vol. 8, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 51.

[11] S. Edward Tesh and Walter D. Zorn, Psalms, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999), 385.

[12] Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 321–322.

[13] Or “The Lord is near.”

[14] Or “your mental powers; your thoughts.”

[15] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 149–150.

[16] S. Edward Tesh and Walter D. Zorn, Psalms, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1999), 392.

[17] Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 206–207.