Category Archives: Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – He Humbled Himself

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth … from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:14, John 1:16

The actor Steve McQueen led an amazing, albeit sometimes sordid, life. He died in 1980, but before illness claimed him, a faithful pastor shared the gospel with him, and he bowed down and trusted in Christ. After his conversion, he had a faithful routine of Bible study and Sunday worship that went unnoticed by the public. He remained in awe of the truth that though his life was messy with divorces, addictions, and poor moral choices, God would show him such love.

McQueen grew to understand that God had made him nothing so that in the discovery of his nothingness, he might then become something. God does the same with us as well.

In this, we are called to follow the pattern of Jesus Himself. From the day of His birth, Christ set aside His previously uninterrupted glory in order to come to this fallen, helpless world on our behalf. He came not on a chariot but to a manger; He came not with a scepter but to a stable. Jesus was as much an earthly servant as He is the heavenly sovereign.

To say that He made Himself nothing, however, doesn’t mean that He transitioned from being God to being man, and then back to being God again. When we read that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” we should reflect on the awe-inspiring paradox that our marvelous Savior poured Himself into His humanity without giving up His deity. He is fully God and fully man!

Our finite human minds sometimes focus on Christ’s deity so much that we don’t remember that He was no less human than you or me; and at other times we can become so preoccupied with His humanity that we lose sight of His divinity. The Scriptures hold Christ’s two natures in perfect tension: although He was found in human form (Philippians 2:8), He was not merely who He appeared to be.

There is more to Jesus than meets the eye. He may have looked just like any other man, but no other man can stand in a boat during a storm and calm the sea. Only God can heal the lame or restore sight to the blind. This man alone deserves the worship of angels and the praise of all creation. Yet Jesus didn’t approach the incarnation asking, What’s in it for Me? Instead, He arrived knowing that He “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He was willing to leave everything and become nothing so that those who acknowledge their nothingness can be given everything. He became flesh so that He might serve, and He beautifully modeled humility to all who might follow Him. How will you look to His example in your tasks and responsibilities today?


Philippians 2:1-13

Topics: Christ’s Birth Deity of Christ Humanity of Christ Incarnation of Christ

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Knowing the Creator

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

John 1:9-10

While each of the Gospels takes a different approach to detailing Jesus’ life, their purpose is the same: that, as John puts it, “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Those words come near the end of his Gospel and were intended to remind even his earliest readers that God graciously took the initiative to pursue His people in order that we might know and love Him.

Although Jesus was the Creator of the world He entered into, the world did not recognize Him. He came down from heaven in the form of a man, navigating city streets and moving among us so that we could live with Him in the light rather than have to live in darkness for all of eternity. Yet today, not unlike 2,000 years ago, many don’t understand the immensity of the gift of life in this world that Christ has given us, and therefore they forfeit the gift of eternal life that Christ was born to offer us, because they don’t know Him.

In his great treatise in the book of Romans, Paul wrote that God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” In other words, as a result of God’s common grace, the creation displays enough evidence to at least bring us to the point of becoming theists. Because of this, men and women “are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Even with that context, however, Paul goes on to say that although men and women “knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21). They knew of God’s existence but, suppressing that knowledge, they refused to know Him as Lord and Savior.

This is a humbling warning to us. If we should neglect to give God the honor and praise He is due, we risk forgetting the glorious ways He continues to pursue us, even today.

The word, truth, and story of Jesus have been made available in the Western world for hundreds of years—but still, so often men and women go about their weeks without any recognition of who Jesus truly is. Believers are not immune from living lives that, Sunday mornings or morning devotions apart, bear no mark of a knowledge of and relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. Imagine the difference it would make if we lived each moment calling to mind the truths that He is the light and the new life within us, that He makes it possible to live with God for all of eternity, that He is our great Lord and gentle Savior, and that He is surely worth knowing.


1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Topics: Christ as Lord Creation Gospel

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – God Hears Our Cries

The people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help … And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant.

Exodus 2:23-24

The promise of food had encouraged Jacob and his family to leave their famine-stricken land and relocate to Egypt with Joseph. For a time, everything was terrific. But their experience took a turn for the worse when a new king came to power. He didn’t like the idea of Israel’s people growing in stature and number, so he put them to work, ruthlessly enslaving them. Their lives were filled with tears and bitterness.

The people of God still had His promises, but those promises seemed empty. It had been easy to trust God when they were free and well-fed. It was far less easy when they were enslaved. In the long, long years of oppression, some must have said to themselves, I think that God has forgotten His promise. I am not at all sure that He is really going to do what He said. Yet despite this, they called out to God, desperately seeking rescue.

God had not forgotten, and His answer came. God heard their cry; He heard their groaning, and in response He implemented a rescue operation. God would not leave them in their misery. He was going to fulfill His purposes for His people and set them free from slavery. He “remembered his covenant”—which is not to say that His promises to Abraham had slipped His mind but that now, at exactly the right moment (though no doubt not as soon as His people would have chosen), He moved to keep His covenant to His people.

This is what God’s people need to be reminded of now, just as they did then: God hears our groaning, God knows our circumstances, and He will act. Not one of His promises will fail. Indeed, when we are at a loss for words in our distress, we discover that the Holy Spirit even intercedes for us through our prayerful groanings (Romans 8:26-27). That’s the level of God’s concern for each of us and the depth of His determination to do eternal good for His people.

When your soul’s cries seem to go unheard—when you begin to wonder if anyone truly cares—recall who God has revealed Himself to be, in Egypt and supremely in His Son:

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely
And long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.[1]

Keep crying out for deliverance. God hears, He cares, and He works on your behalf.


Mark 5:21-43

Topics: Prayer Promises of God Trials


1 Civilla D. Martin, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (1905).

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Worship in Unity

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Achurch united in the gospel will be a healthy church. And nothing corrodes a church as fast as division.

It has always been like this for God’s people. In their greatest moments, we see great unity. For instance, after returning from exile in Babylon, we’re told in Nehemiah 8, the Israelites gathered expectantly, “as one man,” to hear the public preaching of Ezra the priest from the Book of the Law (Nehemiah 8:1). In that moment, nearly 5,000 men and women went to the public square before the Water Gate in a spirit of unity and mutual commitment to worship. Their focus was not simply “What am I receiving from this teaching?” but “What am I contributing to my brothers and sisters who have gathered with me?”

This is the way God’s people must always come to worship if there is to be unity among us.

When we are truly walking with Christ, we will long to worship corporately with the people who love Christ. Though our motivation may sometimes run dry, with the help of the Holy Spirit it is possible to share the psalmist’s spirit of worship: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” (Psalm 122:1). Gathered church worship is far more than an event for you to attend or endure; it is a declaration of shared loyalty to our King and a powerful reminder of the deep unity God’s people enjoy.

Within our congregations, we don’t and won’t always agree. We all have individual preferences and convictions. But at the very center of membership in God’s family there is to be unanimity regarding core issues of our faith—issues like the authority of the Bible, the centrality and preeminence of Jesus, the necessity of evangelism, and the priority of prayer and worship in our daily lives. These shared convictions allow God’s people to gather together in unity. Therefore, while humor from the pulpit, beautiful music, and meaningful programs for families may be gifts from the Lord, they should not be our priority. Instead, we ought to be in prayer for our fellow saints as we seek to worship together in unity, asking that revival may come from our own desire to hear God’s word preached in truth. For when a congregation is prayerfully expectant, God will surely do what He has pledged to do through His word. It is easy to have a “me-first” approach to church and to be quick to criticize—easy, but corrosive. Be sure next Sunday that you are not there only for yourself but for others, and that you are quick to build up and undergird your shared unity in how you sing and speak.


Nehemiah 8:1-12

Topics: Unity Worship

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Pathway to Happiness

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32:1

Several years ago, the BBC conducted a survey of some 65 countries in the world and reported on which were the most and least happy. When individuals were asked what contributed to their joy, there was no clear consensus. The path to happiness was elusive.[1]

In the ESV, Psalm 32 begins with the word “blessed,” but “happy” may be the more evocative and more fitting translation. Indeed, the same Hebrew word that is used here is often translated into the Greek word for “happy” elsewhere, both in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) and in the New Testament. The word is used at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus began to speak to His followers by telling them, “Blessed [that is, happy] are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3).

Many of us would like to be happier than we are. But how? Some think that if they could travel more, they would be content. Some think in more grandiose terms: for instance, that by establishing justice in their part of the world, they would be happier. Others reason there is joy to be found in appreciating the beauty of creation or exploring spirituality. Yet we are continually confronted by the fact that something spoils our ventures and settles like dust upon all our dreams. Happiness derived from these things is always brittle; it is easily broken and it cannot last. The chase after happiness or the attempt to hold on to happiness becomes a burden.

Our search for lasting happiness remains futile as long as we fail to look where the psalmist says it is fundamentally to be found: in a relationship with our Creator God, which begins with forgiveness. We might not think to look there, because it seems like an oxymoron that we would find happiness by first considering the seriousness of our transgressions and our need for forgiveness. But the Hebrew word for “forgiven” actually means “lifted” or “removed.” The happiness and peace we desire comes only when the burden of sin is taken away. And then we are free to enjoy all that life offers, without asking created things or people to bear the weight of being the source of our ultimate joy.

This truth was Augustine’s experience. He spent the first part of his life in an untrammeled commitment to indulgence. Then, after reading the Bible and meeting God in His word, he emerged from his haze, later writing, “O God, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You.”[2] Do you believe what Augustine believed? The basis for his statement is found in the opening verse of this psalm. You do not need to walk through life encumbered by sin and sorrow, because God has offered you forgiveness and a relationship with Him through Jesus. You do not need to chase after happiness the way the world does. When your burdens are lifted and you know that God knows the worst of you and loves you anyway, you experience phenomenal, lasting happiness.


Psalm 32

Topics: Forgiveness Joy


1 Michael Bond, “The Pursuit of Happiness,” New Scientist, October 4, 2003, Accessed April 13, 2021.

2 Confessions 1.1.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Living the Truth

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

John 13:17

Can you recall a time when a stranger approached you out of the blue and asked what you believe about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith? I imagine that you have had very few, if any, experiences like that. We ought to be prepared for such encounters, to be sure; the apostle Peter tells us to be ready to give a reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15). But opportunities to explain what we believe most often result not from random encounters with strangers but from the way we live day in and day out before those who know us well.

How we live and what we believe ought to reflect our attachment to Christ. This is one reason why Peter says Christians are “a people for [God’s] own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). Our connection to Jesus as those who are in Him and belong to Him is comprehensive. That means we are not at liberty to believe whatever we want; we are not free to form our own views of marriage, of sexuality, of finance, or of anything else. Our view is now to reflect that of our Messiah and Teacher, Jesus. But He is not content with His disciples simply knowing the truth. They also need to be living the truth: “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Believing must lead to doing. We are not free to behave in any way we like either, then. Our conduct is to reflect that of our sacrificial Savior, Jesus.

Many contemporary religions and secular creeds require nothing of your lifestyle; they leave you free to live as you please. (In fact, many make that their guiding principle: that you do what seems right to you.) But the call to Christian discipleship is utterly different, for at its heart it is a call to follow a King who is not you. The call to the Christian life is not merely to believe the gospel but to “let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27).

We all fall short. Do you have someone helping you, and whom you can help, in identifying areas of behavior that are not yet worthy of the gospel? Lock arms with a brother or sister in Christ, shine the light of God’s word on one another, and seek to bring the truth to life!

The church is God’s primary appointed means of reaching His world. You are part of that. But do not expect those around you to ask about the gospel—still less to repent and believe the gospel—if you are not living out that gospel:

You are writing a gospel,
A chapter each day,
By deeds that you do,
By words that you say.
Men read what you write,
Whether faithless or true,
Say! What is the gospel
According to you? [1]


John 13:31-35

Topics: Christian Life Evangelism Obedience


1 Commonly attributed to Paul Gilbert.

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Come, Ye Thankful People

Give thanks in all circumstances … May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Thanksgiving is not always easy, even when, as a nation, the US sets aside a holiday for the express purpose of doing so. During this holiday, many of us become keenly aware of life circumstances that don’t stir up feelings of thankfulness. Some of us may be facing our loneliest days, while others are overwhelmed by the crushing burden of a loved one wandering from the gospel. Still others enter this season greatly disappointed as a result of various failures—a lost job, a broken relationship, another missed promotion. We sometimes find ourselves absolutely stuck, unable to pull ourselves out of despondency and feeling as far from gratitude as the east is from the west.

When we’re facing such situations and we read “Give thanks in all circumstances,” we often wonder how we’re supposed to respond. Yet the Bible never offers exhortations without also offering aid.

The answer for how we can show constant gratitude lies in God’s sanctifying work in us. The word “sanctify” means “to set apart for God.” When the Lord Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign in our lives, the Holy Spirit enters us in order to produce the ongoing cleansing necessary for spiritual growth. It is the work of God that enables us to be what Jesus desires for us to be, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). When we abide in Christ, “rooted and built up in him” (Colossians 2:7)—studying our Bibles, learning to pray, fellowshipping with God’s people, telling others about Him—we are reminded of all that He is for us and all that He has done for us and in us. We learn to sing with the psalmist, “We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds” (Psalm 75:1). Whatever our own regrets and disappointments, we are able to overflow with thankfulness as we remember His wondrous deeds—His cross, His resurrection, His ascension, and His work in us by His Spirit to bring us to faith and keep us in faith.

Our trials may be tough and gloomy. We may not feel thankful in every moment. That’s ok, because that’s not the point. God enables us to be grateful regardless. He provides the strength for us to fulfill Paul’s instruction.

If you are experiencing an absence of thankfulness in your life right now, then you need to turn your attention away from your circumstances, at least for a moment, and reflect on God’s gift of love for you. As you abide in Christ and allow God’s Spirit to continue His sanctifying work, He will quicken you from within, so that even through tears, pain, and disappointment, you’ll be able to respond when He bids us, “Come, ye thankful people, come.”[1]


Psalm 149

Topics: Sanctification Thanksgiving Trials


1 Henry Alford, “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” (1844).

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Question of Suffering

Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life.

Genesis 3:17

No one is a stranger to suffering. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a painful diagnosis, a conflict at work, a broken relationship, or anything similar, trials are not exclusive to any one person. Throughout Scripture, we see numerous accounts of suffering. As we live life and as we read our Bibles, it becomes unarguably apparent that suffering is a part of human existence.

Once we accept this reality, one of the most critical questions we find ourselves asking is “Why?” Why do people suffer? All worldviews and religions offer their attempts at answers: “Pain is just an illusion.” “There is no God; pain is meaningless.” “Pain is out of God’s control.” “Pain is payback for past deeds in your present or previous life.” All those answers have something in common: they offer no hope. But God Himself offers us a better answer.

While He could have stopped Satan from deceiving, or stopped Adam and Eve from being deceived, or even stopped suffering altogether. God instead chose to use suffering to teach men and women the meaning of willing love and genuine obedience, and of their need for a Savior. It is our very freedom that makes learning this lesson a possibility. God did not make us to be automatons. He wanted us to serve Him freely and lovingly, not out of force or obligation. Tragically, though, in that freedom, humanity chose life apart from Him—with dreadful consequences. And whenever we sin, we show that we are no different than our first ancestors.

God knew that men and women needed to be confronted by the truth that rebellion against Him is folly. That is why He banished them from the tree of life in Eden (Genesis 3:22-24). That is why the world no longer works as it was created to—and neither do our bodies (v 16-19). Like a rebellious child realizing the folly of their choice, willingly returning home and appreciating their family all the more, we can freely return to God, longing for His love. God allowed sin to come into the world in all its horribleness so that we could feel the consequences of our choices and learn to love Him all the more as He displays the beauty of His own love in a world of evil.

C.S. Lewis famously put it this way: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[1]

God is not the author of evil, but He is sovereign over evil. Therefore, we can have this hope: there will be a day when God will bring all evil to an end. Meanwhile, He determines to leave things as they are in order that through our trials we might cling to the Suffering Servant as our Savior. Do not let your disappointments over life in a fallen world persuade you that God is not there or He does not care. Rather, let them drive you again and again to your Savior, who promises one day to make an end of all that is wrong and stretches before you an eternity in which all is right.


Luke 15:11-32

Topics: Affliction Sovereignty of God Suffering Trials


1 The Problem of Pain (Harper Collins, 2001), p 91.

devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – A Picture of Heaven

I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10

Many of our ideas and songs about heaven have more to do with Victorian-era Christianity and views of the universe based on the teaching of the Greek philosopher Plato than they do with a rigorous, thoughtful consideration of what God has revealed in His word. We will not spend our eternity just sitting on clouds and playing harps, as heaven is often depicted in art. We will do something far better. Scripture shows us that we will sing God’s praises and worship the Lamb.

The book of Revelation calls us to notice the ever-expanding circles of praise that surround the Lamb. In the first circle, we see four living creatures and twenty-four elders offering incense and singing a new song of praise (Revelation 5:8-9). The second circle, in verses 11-13, then consists of tens of thousands of angels giving Him honor, joined by every creature in all creation. Next, Revelation highlights those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (7:4, 9). They are described both as 144,000 in number and as a company beyond counting. They are portrayed both as the twelve tribes of Israel and as people from every nation and language. These descriptions may seem mutually contradictory, but this makes perfect sense from God’s perspective. The exact number represents perfection and completion; but from a human perspective, the crowd is so vast that you can’t count it when you see it before you. In God’s eyes, the people that are redeemed are His chosen sons and daughters, representatives of every tribe. He knows every single individual. Yet His people are drawn from all peoples. Here is a picture of God’s absolute, total triumph—and of God’s people exalting Him and exulting over His triumph.

So, while this scene opens with the four creatures and the twenty-four elders, it progresses to these thousands upon thousands, reflecting Paul’s declaration that, eventually, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10, emphasis added). Our praise will join that of the countless multitudes, and we will all declare that Christ is the Lamb that was slain, that by His blood our sins have been cleansed, that with His righteousness we are clothed, and that in His company we will live for all of eternity.

One day we will get to join the ever-expanding circle of praise around Christ, who will step forward as the conquering Lion and the humble Lamb, our beloved Bridegroom. But we do not need to wait until then, for we can, even now, join the song of worship with our eyes fastened on Him. One day you will stand before Him and see Him! And day by day, you walk toward that day.


Revelation 7:1-17

Topics: Christ as King Heaven Worship

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Heart of the Matter

Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hebrews 9:27-28

The ultimate statistic is that one out of one will die. Death is the only certainty of life. As Christians, while we may fear the event, we need not fear the outcome.

We need not fear for this reason: Jesus did not come merely to add to the sum total of our happiness or to offer us a leg up in life or worldly riches, but to save sinners and to rescue us from judgment.

The Bible teaches that God’s judgment and eternal punishment will fall on those whose names are not included in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:11-15). How, then, can we be sure that our names will be found in its pages? There is only one way: by believing in the Lord Jesus. We must look to Christ, who will freely pardon and justify those who come to Him in repentance and faith. And to come to Jesus is about more than mere intellectual assent, necessary though that is. It is not enough to be cerebrally tuned in to Christian doctrine. We must recognize our failure to treat God properly. We have denied and defied Him. We must surrender our lives to His loving authority and rely entirely on what Christ accomplished on the cross that we might find acceptance before God.

The heart of the matter is not whether we believe certain facts about Jesus or the Bible, or whether we’ve cleaned up our lifestyle. The question is, have we ever gotten so spiritually thirsty that we have said, “Lord Jesus Christ, give me Your living water so I may thirst no more”?

But what if Jesus turns us away? What if we’re not supposed to be in the Book of Life? Jesus addressed this fear Himself with a promise, saying, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).

Do you realize the kindness of God’s invitation to you? Have you heard God’s call to take refuge in Jesus? Do you hear it afresh each day and take refuge in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 57:1)? May we say with the hymn writer:

I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad.[1]

For if we have taken refuge in the Son, we can know with certainty that He has borne our sins in His own death, and that when He returns, we will face not a fearful condemnation but a glorious welcome. And then we can hear the truth that “it is appointed for man to die” and find our hearts still at rest.


Psalm 49

Topics: Assurance of Salvation Faith Fear


1 Horatius Bonar, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (1846).

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Blessings and Curses

All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God … But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.

Deuteronomy 28:2, Deuteronomy 28:15

On the plains of Moab by the River Jordan, the Israelites were on the brink of finally entering the land God had promised them. Moses addressed the people for the last time, trying to ensure that they would not spoil their relationship with God by their disobedience, as the previous generation had done. He reminded them of what God had said and done in the past, and he exhorted them, on the basis of God’s great intervention and covenant-keeping faithfulness, to be a people set apart for God.

Through Moses’ instructions, God set before His people two striking alternatives—and the stakes were high. He gave them a promise of blessing and then a word of warning. He presented them with a simple question: How were they going to live? Would they keep the covenant and enjoy blessing in the land, or would they disobey and be expelled from the land?

The people who were gathered on the edge of the land must have heard God’s word and said, Oh, no, disobedience like that will never happen to us! Yet fast-forward a few hundred years and where do we find them? “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion … How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1, 4). Captives of a foreign people, the Israelites look back and wonder how they ever ended up where they are.

As creatures living in a fallen world, you and I are so vulnerable, so tempted, so tested. We are always only a single decision away from disobedience and from walking away from God. We are desperately in need of God’s sustaining grace. Tragically, many who once appeared to be devoted, committed, and headed towards the promised land have not simply tripped; they have tumbled down into disbelief. And the worst mistake we can make is to think, “Oh, no, that will never happen to me!”

The Evil One loves to come and tell us that the reason that God has given us His law and established His commands is because He wants to sour our lives, deprive us of fun, and fill our days with heartache and pain. That is the absolute lie of all lies. God gives His word for our good! All the warnings of Scripture are there to corral us and sting us when we are on the verge of ruin, and all the promises of Scripture are there to pick us up when we are timid and unsure, and all the commands of Scripture are there to lead us into the blessing of life lived God’s way, in His presence, in His world. His commitment to our good is seen most supremely in His Son coming to bear the curse of our disobedience so that we can enjoy the blessing that He, and He alone, deserves.

Do you love God? Do you know that God loves you? Then take heed of His warnings, obey His commands, and cherish the comforts of His promises.


Galatians 3:10-14

Topics: Effects of Sin God’s Word Obedience

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Father’s Tender Care

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:31-33

As creatures in God’s world, we are not at the mercy of fate or chance. We are not driven along by blind and impersonal forces, nor do we need to be concerned about horoscopes, the motions of the planets, or similar distractions.

But for those who don’t know and trust God as their heavenly Father, this is how the universe appears. So, as Scripture makes clear, “the Gentiles”—meaning here those with no interest in God—“seek after all these things.” Such individuals are uncertain that there ever really was a Creator—and if there was, they suppose, He’s had His hands off creation since it was established. In their minds, every up and down, every ebb and flow of human history, is down to chance, with all of us caught up in the grip of a vast, faceless mechanism.

It’s a grim picture. Thankfully, the Bible tells us otherwise. According to Scripture, all things were created through Christ and for Christ, and He remains intimately involved in His creation (Colossians 1:16-17). In light of this, God the Son essentially says in Matthew 6:26-33, Why should you be worrying about food, clothing, or anything else? The pagans worry. But you? You just keep your eyes on Me, and I’ll take care of you. There’s not a bird in the sky I do not know. The very grass of the field is clothed by My mighty power, and I’m going to look after you too.

Indeed, Christ’s promise that He and His Father care for us is a truth echoed wonderfully in Romans 8:28, that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” If we are in Christ, all of our days and our desires, our hopes and our heartaches, our fears and our failures are being worked out according to the wise, gracious, loving will of God.

If you are alone today, or you spent last evening alone, or you are fearful of the prospect of another week of fractured or difficult relationships, allow the word of God to come in and warm and fill your heart with an intimate awareness of the Father’s love and presence. If you are burdened by financial worries, allow Jesus to calm your fears by telling you that He will provide for you what you truly need. If you are struggling with health problems—be they physical or emotional—be assured that He knows, and cares, and will bring you through. No matter what happens or how difficult life becomes, God Himself will look after you, because He cares for you.


Matthew 6:19-34

Topics: Anxiety Providence of God Worry

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Radically Changed

Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The proof of Christianity lies in its power. Only the power of Christ can take men and women, lost to shame, and make them sons and daughters of God. There is no depth of guilt to which someone can plummet or degree of humiliation someone can feel that puts them beyond God’s forgiving grace.

As he concludes a long, ugly list, Paul states, “Such were some of you.” This statement is a shout of triumph, not of remorse. It is past tense, not present. Why? Because of Jesus’ transforming power. No man can change himself; no woman can change herself—but Jesus can change them!

Do we actually believe a total personal transformation can happen? We are tempted to offer people cosmetic fixes but tell them they must now limp through the rest of their lives as a result of former sins, or to assure them that they are saved by grace but must now work hard to change themselves. Where did we get these messages? Did Jesus tell people, I’ll touch your life and change you, but I want you to know that you’ll only be changed a wee bit—now it’s up to you? No! He said, I’ll make you brand-new from the inside out. I’ll transform you, liberate you, change you. That’s Jesus’ message. And that was the testimony of these Corinthian Christians. They were one kind of person—sinful, facing judgment. But then they were transformed. Now they were different. So how does this transformation begin? With a clear view of our own sin. If I don’t know myself to be sinful, how could I ever know myself to be saved? We must each face the depths of our own depravity so that when God’s word tells us that Jesus came to rescue people from every trial and entanglement of life and give them His Spirit to change them from inside out, we will reach out for Him with both hands. That’s salvation! That’s transformation!

Every Christian is living evidence of the fact that God changes lives. There are men and women everywhere who are living proofs of Christ’s re-creating, life-transforming power. Are we prepared, then, to have a church full of people who were once sexually immoral, adulterers, drunks, and swindlers? And are we prepared to acknowledge that this is what we ourselves were but no longer are, and all by grace? Or do we just want churches of people properly put together—fairly acceptable individuals who really believe they have no need of Jesus?

Jesus saves, and Jesus transforms. By faith, you are not what you were, and you will be able to say that again next month and next year. Who seems to you to be too steeped in sin ever to come to Christ? Pray for divine transformation. What part of your own life feels too resistant to change ever to please Christ? Pray for divine transformation. You cannot change anyone, including yourself. But Christ is powerful to do what you cannot.


2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Topics: New Birth Regeneration Salvation

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Promise and the Blessing

I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Genesis 12:1-3

Children have a way of getting underfoot as dinner is being prepared. Sometimes parents feel like shouting, “Listen, why don’t all of you get out of the kitchen? Just go!”

At the Tower of Babel, the people did more than get underfoot; they turned their backs on God. Determined to have their own kingdom, they built their tower and tried to reach up to the heavens to see what they could do by their own might. As a result of this rebellion, God brought judgment by diversifying their languages and scattering them all over the world (Genesis 11:1-9).

Being far more justified than an exasperated parent, God could have sent the people away and been done with them. But He didn’t.

To demonstrate His grace, in the very next generation God began to repair what was broken. He spoke to a childless, elderly pagan man named Abram, whose name ironically meant “exalted father,” and He promised to reverse the effect of His judgment at Babel. People there had aimed to make their name great. God would make Abram’s great. They had sought to build their own kingdom. God would make Abram’s people a great nation. They had planned to find blessing in a world without God. God would bring blessing to the earth through Abram’s family. Sin would be unwound and its effects undone by God’s intervening grace.

In this very covenant God took Abram and made him Abraham, “the father of a multitude,” as He promised to extend His grace to this chosen servant and to future generations scattered throughout the earth.

God’s promise to Abraham is an early expression of the gospel promise. He made a promise to Abraham, and Abraham’s descendants later received the blessing. They would eventually realize, though, that the promise and blessing encompass all who believe in Jesus: “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith … And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:26, 29). So, while the promises that God made to Abraham were partially fulfilled in the Old Testament nation of Israel, they were ultimately fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in His people.

Catch just a tiny glimpse of the immensity of this fulfillment and your life will be forever changed. If you are in Christ today, the promise that God made to Abraham has your name on it. You are a citizen of heaven and serve a King descended from Abraham called Jesus. What God began as He spoke to Abram has come to encompass you as God calls people back into His kingdom, to enjoy Him face-to-face forever. Whatever else is true of you today, by faith you are a child of God, a member of Abraham’s people, and an heir to these glorious promises.


Genesis 11:1-9

Genesis 12:1-9

Topics: Grace of God Kingdom of God Promises of God

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Reality of Evil

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

The Bible is very clear about the reality of evil—and it is equally clear about the personality of the one who is behind the evil in the world. Satan, the Evil One, is completely opposed to the spiritual well-being of his victims. He is a ferocious lion, and (though not outside of God’s sovereign control) he is the ruler of this world. He is behind all sin; and before anyone is born again of the Spirit of God, they actually belong to his domain, and their evil actions give proof of his ownership.

Of course, the idea of an actual Evil One is laughed at by most of our contemporaries. They say, “Oh, you can’t possibly believe in the existence of an evil spiritual force called the devil, can you?” But at the same time as they downplay the idea of a personal devil, such people are at a loss to explain why we’re able to make such great technological advances and yet are unable to control the sinful impulses of our own lives any better than previous generations. Why is this?

The Bible teaches that when Adam followed his wife in placing himself under the influence of the deceiver and sinning, he took the whole of humanity down with him. In other words, when Adam sinned, we all sinned. Each of us was born fallen. Therefore, our hearts—the core of our being, the source of our feelings, our longings, our decisions—are “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick.” Jeremiah anticipates what Jesus would say to the Pharisees: “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him … For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality,” and all other sorts of wickedness, both blatant and discreet (Mark 7:15, 21).

While these truths provide a compelling explanation of what we see in the world, they also confront us with a very challenging view of ourselves. The truth is that we are not good people who make mistakes; we are sinful people in need of mercy. Because it requires humility to accept what our hearts are truly like, those same hearts will tend to prefer to be deceived by preachers of self-esteem and self-confidence rather than listen to prophets such as Jeremiah.

The truth is that everyone is born in need of a heart transplant—not a physical one but a spiritual one. Only God can accomplish such a transformation. Just as God charged us with Adam’s guilt, by grace He credits believers with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. As believers in Jesus, we have been changed from the inside out. Today, as with every day, the only antidote for your deceitful heart is to come humbly and sincerely before the Lord, praying, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).


Mark 7:1-23

Topics: Effects of Sin Original Sin Satan

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Faith to Move Mountains

Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Mark 11:22-24

In reading our Bibles, we will come across verses that seem straightforward and easy to understand immediately. On the other hand, there are also verses like this one!

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” says Jesus. We are tempted essentially to sidestep what these words say. We try to bury them under a hundred qualifications. The misapplication of such verses has scared some of us so much that we hardly give any attention to the encouragement and the challenge they contain.

In this bold command, Jesus reminded His followers to trust God, because it is actually faith’s foundation in God that gives that faith significance. We should not have faith in faith or faith in ourselves, but faith in God alone.

The metaphor that Jesus employed—that of someone commanding a mountain to be thrown into the sea—was perhaps familiar to the disciples; it was similar to a common rabbinic figure of speech for accomplishing something that was seemingly impossible.[1] The disciples would not have misunderstood Jesus as suggesting that they literally hurl the Mount of Olives into the Dead Sea over 4,000 feet below them. They would have understood his words as a proverbial statement indicating that God wants to do extraordinary things for His children.

We discover vivid proof of Jesus’ teaching on faith and prayer throughout the book of Acts. Early on, when a lame beggar asked Peter and John for money, Peter told him instead to stand up and walk (Acts 3:6). Perhaps as he spoke to this man, Peter was remembering Jesus’ words and thinking to himself, “Whatever you ask… believe…”

When God is the object of our faith, we can have an audacious faith—a faith that believes the impossible to be possible with Him. We can know that we are speaking to someone who is able to do far more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). Jesus essentially says to us, I want you to pray in a way that says you actually believe in a God who is too wise to make mistakes, who is too kind to be cruel, and who is too powerful to be subdued by the normal forces of the universe.

Do not set aside these verses with a hundred qualifications. Just let them sit there for a minute. Enjoy the truth that God is able to do things beyond anything you can imagine. Rest in the reality that He knows no impossibility. And then pray.


Ephesians 3:14-21

Topics: Character of God Faith Prayer


1 Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898), Vol. 2, p 376 (footnote).

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The War Against Temptation

Sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Romans 6:14

In this life, we will never be exempt from temptation. In fact, the older we get, the more we discover that the same old temptations—often in new guises—are right there behind us, biting at our heels and seeking to bring us down. And if that were not bad enough, they’re often joined by a whole batch of new ones!

Yes, temptation is a reality, and it is unavoidable. But why is this the case?

The first reason is that the same grace which reconciles us to God also opposes us to the devil, who, Scripture tells us persuaded us that he was our friend before we came to trust in Christ. When God’s grace makes us His friend instead, it simultaneously makes us enemies of His great enemy. And although the Evil One cannot prevent God from saving His people, he can bring all of his endeavors—namely, temptation—to bear upon us once we have been saved.

Secondly, when we are born again, sin no longer masters us, but it does continue to wage a war against our souls—and temptation is among its greatest weapons. We are tempted by the world: all that is out there that says to us, “If you can obtain this, you will be happy and will enjoy life.” We are also tempted by our flesh. Our old sinful nature—which still lingers in us in this present life, even after we trust in Christ—wages a fierce rearguard battle against our new selves.

Yet as strong as the appeals of the Evil One may be—and they are strong—they do not in themselves have the power to compel us to yield to temptation. The devil has the power to bring the world to us, but he does not have the power to make us sin.

Do not be paralyzed by fear, then, or complacent about the temptations you face. In your war against temptation, you do not need to wonder if you’ll win or lose. God has already declared checkmate, for, as John writes, “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The war is over, and victory is assured. Battles may still go on, but they cannot affect the war’s ultimate conclusion.

What temptations are you currently struggling with or giving in to? Take a moment to name them. And then take comfort in this today: as powerful as those temptations may be, the devil is a defeated foe, and Jesus Christ reigns victorious! His power in you is sufficient to enable you to fight temptation, and His death for you is sufficient for God to forgive you!


Romans 6:1-14

Topics: Grace of God Satan Sin Temptation Victory

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – The Holy City

I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

Revelation 21:2

In Jesus, God has come from heaven and reached down to us—and at the end of all things, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will also come down out of heaven from God.

God is putting together a new Jerusalem that will comprise believers from all the ages and from all places—people like you and me. We will be city dwellers living in perfect harmony with one another; God’s face will be before us, and we will be marked as His own (Revelation 22:4). This company will be a multitude so vast and magnificent that no one can count it, with citizens coming from every nation, tribe, people, and language (7:9).

The description of this vast multitude was intended as a source of hope and encouragement for the church in the apostle John’s day, and it should also be so for us. The early church was very, very small in numbers—quite insignificant by human standards, just as it has been in many eras throughout history. But John tells us that the church is actually far greater, vaster, and more significant than we can ever imagine, for its members are citizens of the new Jerusalem, journeying as pilgrims ever onwards until they stand in its streets.

One day, in that city, innumerable believers will worship together, and we will witness the final fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham: “He brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them … So shall your offspring be’” (Genesis 15:5).

For now, creation is marked by division and discord. We are separated by language, nationality, and culture—by ancient enmities and recent suspicions. One day, though, all of that is going to be reversed. God is putting together a new community—a multiracial, multicultural city under His reign and rule. When we are finally all brought together as heaven comes to earth and Christ’s people are raised to dwell in it, we will be united by the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ because the gospel is for all nations.

Can you imagine such a day? No, not fully, of course—but yes, sufficiently to pull you onwards through the trials and pressures of this life and to cause you to fling off all that would hold you back (Hebrews 12:1-2). This world is not your home; but one day, the heavenly city will come down, and it will be. One day you will see for real what John saw in this vision, and you will be home.


Revelation 22

Topics: Heaven Kingdom of God Unity

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – Glory in the Ordinary

The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age…” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse.

Ruth 4:14-15, Ruth 4:16

Anew baby being introduced to a beaming grandparent is not an unusual scene. But Naomi’s history and the future of this little family make this scene quite extraordinary.

Naomi had returned to Bethlehem having buried her husband and sons, empty-handed and sorrowful. Now her life and lap were full again with joy and hope. Here was a future generation of her family to bring life and nourishment in her old age. In this sense, the child brought her freedom—redemption. But as we look back on this ordinary scene from this side of the incarnation, we also know that it declares extraordinary news: because of God’s gracious care for two defenseless widows, all of Israel—indeed, all of mankind—was helped. Through Ruth, God continued a family line that would later lead to King David, and then on to Jesus Christ Himself.

Even Jesus, this King of kings and Lord of lords, was found among the ordinary things of life. He too lay in someone’s lap. He had ordinary earthly parents. He was born in an animal stable, not a great palace. His victory came through a criminal’s cross, not a conquered throne. This is not what most would expect of the incarnate God Almighty—yet, just as the wise men looked for Jesus first at the palace (Matthew 2:1-3), so we often start looking for Him in the wrong places. And when we do, we are in danger of ending up as a “Mara” rather than a “Naomi” (Ruth 1:20), feeling bitter rather than enjoying contentment.

God’s eternal plans unfold in the midst of the ordinary—ordinary people in ordinary places doing ordinary things. If you lead an ordinary life, this should encourage you! Very few of us will even be a footnote in history. Whether you are an ordinary mother raising ordinary kids doing ordinary things day in and day out, an ordinary grandpa telling the same old ordinary stories, or an ordinary student going about your ordinary routine homework and activities—whatever sort of ordinary you are—the glory of God can be found all around you. And your faithfulness in the midst of the ordinary may, by His grace, become the means of extraordinary impact for the sake of the gospel.

When you are tempted to feel like you’re not doing much—to believe the devil’s lie that you cannot make a difference or are outside of God’s purposes—remember this: long after human achievement, words, and wisdom fade, the faithfulness, kindness, integrity, love, and gentleness that God works in and through you will be seen to have had a more dramatic impact on the lives of men and women than you could ever imagine. This is the wonder of Naomi’s story and the wonder of all of history—that God’s extraordinary glory is at work in the ordinary. That truth can change the way you feel about and go about your day.


Ruth 4:13-21

Topics: Biblical Figures Glory of God Redemptive History

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,

Truth for Life; Alistair Begg – A Covenant of Commitment

All the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses…” So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.

Ruth 4:11, Ruth 4:13

In biblical times, the city gate was the main hub of local activity, serving as both a marketplace and civic center. Merchants, beggars, city officials, religious leaders, and a host of others gathered there to conduct business, administer the law, receive alms, shop, and socialize. It was to that crowded place that Boaz went to declare publicly his commitment to marry Ruth. Their marriage helpfully leads us to consider the biblical definition of marriage.

First, biblical marriage is to involve committed love. Such love is not based purely on emotion or circumstances but remains deeply rooted and unconditional through all of life’s seasons and situations. This is reflected in the vows the church uses today in marriage ceremonies—commitment for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

Second, marriage involves committed witnesses. When a man and a woman marry, they become one unit under a covenant of love and care. As fallible humans, we need others to hold us accountable to this commitment. This is why wedding ceremonies must have at least one witness to attest to the forming of a new union, a new family. Boaz put this into practice at the city gate, where a crowd of people and the elders of the town witnessed his pledge to take Ruth’s hand in marriage. They were then able to hold him to his word.

Third, godly marriage must have committed communion. God intends marriage to reflect the growing depth of intimacy that we experience with Him as His pursued bride. The personal relationship between husband and wife should deepen within marriage through, among other things, sexual intimacy. Such physical union should only take place within the context of a committed, loving, publicly recognized relationship. To try and isolate the physical commitment of marriage from the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual aspects makes a mockery of God’s design.

Much of the world’s perception of love and marriage pales in comparison with the beauty and benefit of a reliable, faithful, committed monogamous heterosexual union. When we see each facet of this covenant lived out, we are seeing a glimpse of the riches of our heavenly Bridegroom’s commitment to His church (Ephesians 5:22-27). Christian marriage is a blessing itself, and a portrait of that even greater reality. No marriage but that greater one is perfect, but every marriage between believers is to strive to picture it. In how you think of, speak about, pray for and behave towards marriage (whether your own or the marriages around you), be sure to uphold the biblical definition and to live it out.


Topics: Marriage Sexuality

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg,