Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 21, 2019

“He who has seen Me has seen the Father”

Today’s devotion comes from John 14:7-14.

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also;  from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”  Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father;  how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.  Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me;  otherwise believe because of the works themselves.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also;  and greater works than these he will do;  because I go to the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”  John 14:7-14.

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We all know that it is not unusual for a son to look like his father and even do things alike.

When I was a boy, people would tell me all the time that I looked like my father.  I loved it and was proud of it.

So, today’s Scripture should not surprise us:  “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” and “The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works”.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”  Colossians 1:15.

“For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”  Colossians 2:9.

“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14.

Last week, as my middle son and I were walking down the hall, a lady in my office building said that my son and I walked alike.  I kind of liked the comment, but I did not have total confidence in myself that I was walking well.

More important than my son walk well physically, it is important that my three sons walk in truth.  “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”  3 John 1:4.

But, there is hope!

Other doctrine places its hope in the natural father.

But, Reformed Doctrine places its hope in God, our spiritual Father.

Abraham had two sons, Jacob and Esau, and although Abraham walked in the truth and raised both sons in the truth, God stated:  “Just as it is written, JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”  Romans 9:13.  “for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”  Romans 9:11-12. 

Article 10.  The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election;  which doth not consist herein, that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation;  but that he was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to himself, as it is written, “For the children being not yet born neither having done any good or evil,” etc., it was said (namely to Rebecca):  “the elder shall serve the younger;  as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,”  Romans 9:11,12,13.  “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” Acts 13:48.  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

The following Scriptures show the work of God, our spiritual Father.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also;  and greater works than these he will do;  because I go to the Father.  Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”   Verses 12-14.

Today’s devotion comes from John 14:1-6.

“Do not let your heart be troubled;  believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;  if it were not so, I would have told you;  for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way where I am going.”  Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;  no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:1-6.

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When we meditate on this beloved Scripture, most of the time we meditate on Heaven, and such meditation on heaven is certainly a wonderful and appropriate use of this Scripture and other Scripture.  At the top of this page, there is a link to my meditation on Heaven.

But, for today’s devotion, we will meditate on the positional place for us.

The place prepared for us is “in Christ”.

God “… raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:6-7.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:30.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  Galatians 3:27.

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”  2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the BelovedIn Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:3-14.

Today’s devotion comes from John 13:31-38.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;  if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.  Little children, I am with you a little while longer.  You will seek Me;  and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:31-35.

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Other doctrine teaches man’s alleged free-will, independence, individuality, man’s love, and man’s work.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches God’s will, dependence on God and fellow saints, unity, God’s love, and God’s work.

The following Scripture contains similar themes of glory and love as today’s Scripture, but it helps us understand God’s will, dependence on God and fellow saints, unity, God’s love, and God’s work.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You;  and these have known that You sent Me;  and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:22-26.

“We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19.

Today’s devotion comes from John 13:18-30.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+13&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“I do not speak of all of you.  I know the ones I have chosen;  but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’  From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.  …

When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.”  John 13:18-19 and 21.

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“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.”  John 14:29.

“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;  and that believing you may have life in His name.”  John 20:30-31.

God is almighty, all knowing, and does not lie, and so we can trust the promises of God. 

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

In other words, from the beginning, God declared what the ending would be. 

God “… chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”   Ephesians 1:4.   And, from the beginning, God chose the means (Christ and His sacrificial death) by which He would accomplish his purpose.

“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  1 Corinthians 3:11.

“…  His works were finished from the foundation of the world.”  Hebrews 4:3.

“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.”  And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.  For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.  In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”  Hebrews 6:13-19.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 16, 2019

“through love serve one another”

Today’s devotion comes from John 13:12-17.

“So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?  You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.  If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”  John 13:12-17.

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“For you were called to freedom, brethren;  only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  Galatians 5:13-14.

Today’s devotion comes from John 13:5-11.

“Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.  So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”  Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!”  Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”  Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”  Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean;  and you are clean, but not all of you.”  For He knew the one who was betraying Him;  for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”  John 13:5-11.

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“He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean”.

We are “completely clean” in the sense of that Christ has bathed us, so that we have “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing” and are “holy and blameless”.

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

“For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:14.

We still need our feet washed in the sense that although we have been bathed and are a slave to righteousness and do not practice sin (Romans 6:17-23 and 1 John 3:7-10), we still do sin.  Our feet still walk in a dirty world so to speak.  We need to confess our sins, and we need forgiveness of our sins and cleansing from all unrighteousness.

“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:8-9.

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
2 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

3 When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.  Selah.
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin.  Selah.”  Psalm 32:1-5.

Other doctrine teaches that it is up to man’s alleged free-will to repent, to wash his own feet so to speak.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  Christ is the One Who grants repentance and Who washes our feet.

Article 3.  By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.  But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.

Article 4.  Although the weakness of the flesh cannot prevail against the power of God, who confirms and preserves true believers in a state of grace, yet converts are not always so influenced and actuated by the Spirit of God, as not in some particular instances sinfully to deviate from the guidance of divine grace, so as to be seduced by, and to comply with the lusts of the flesh;  they must, therefore, be constant in watching and in prayer, that they be not led into temptation.  When these are neglected, they are not only liable to be drawn into great and heinous sins, by Satan, the world and the flesh, but sometimes by the righteous permission of God actually fall into these evils.  This, the lamentable fall of David, Peter, and other saints described in Holy Scripture, demonstrates.

Article 5.  By such enormous sins, however, they very highly offend God, incur a deadly guilt, grieve the Holy Spirit, interrupt the exercise of faith, very grievously wound their consciences, and sometimes lose the sense of God’s favor, for a time, until on their returning into the right way of serious repentance, the light of God’s fatherly countenance again shines upon them.

Article 6.  But God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election, does not wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit from his own people, even in their melancholy falls;  nor suffers them to proceed so far as to lose the grace of adoption, and forfeit the state of justification, or to commit sins unto death;  nor does he permit them to be totally deserted, and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.

Article 7.  For in the first place, in these falls he preserves them in the incorruptible seed of regeneration from perishing, or being totally lost;  and again, by his Word and Spirit, certainly and effectually renews them to repentance, to a sincere and godly sorrow for their sins, that they may seek and obtain remission in the blood of the Mediator, may again experience the favor of a reconciled God, through faith adore his mercies, and henceforward more diligently work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.  FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE
Of the Perseverance of the Saints of Canons of Dordt.

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Acts 5:31.

Today’s devotion comes from John 13:1-4.

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments;  and taking a towel, He girded Himself.”  John 13:1-4.

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As Jesus “laid aside His garments”, let us “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us”.

As Jesus “girded Himself”, let us gird ourselves with truth.

As Jesus knew that He had come forth from God and that He was going back to God, let us live our lives knowing that we have “so great cloud of witnesses surrounding us”, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith”, and waiting “for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2.

“Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians 6:14-17.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”  1 Peter 1:3.  (KJV).

The hope that we have is “a living hope” based on what God has done for us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 12, 2019

“I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 12:44-50.

“And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him;  for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.  He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him;  the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.  For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.  I know that His commandment is eternal life;  therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”  John 12:44-50.

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We will focus on Jesus’ statement:  “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”  John 3:17.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged;  he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  John 3:16-21.

Other doctrine is pleased to show its deeds and its choice of Christ which it proudly claims is all accomplished by its alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine is pleased to show its deeds and its position in Christ which it humbly states that Scripture shows was all accomplished by God “as having been wrought in God”.  “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:13-14.

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One (Christ) the many will be made righteous.”  Romans 5:9.

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:14.

For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:15-16.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

Today’s devotion comes from John 12:37-43.

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke:  “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?  AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE REVEALED?”  For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.”  These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.  Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;  for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”  John 12:37-43.

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Why does God blind eyes and harden hearts?  This is the theme of today’s devotion even though we cannot fully understand why God does it and we can only provide a few Scriptures and a few points to consider.

“8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  Then I said, “Here am I.  Send me!”  9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:

‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”  Isaiah 6:8-10.

“And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.”  Luke 8:10.

Other doctrine denies or skips over these and similar Scriptures.

But, Reformed Doctrine admits and studies similar Scriptures “without vainly attempting to investigate the secret ways of the Most High.” in Article 14 of  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

Other doctrine foolishly and futilely tries to elevate man’s alleged free-will over God’s power and authority.

“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”  Psalm 2:3.

But, Reformed Doctrine exalts in God’s sovereign almighty power and authority.  “And this is the decree of reprobation which by no means makes God the author of sin (the very thought of which is blasphemy), but declares him to be an awful, irreprehensible, and righteous judge and avenger thereof.” in Article 15 of  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?  What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:18-23.

Considering man’s “Total Depravity”, the better question is why does God enlighten ANY eyes and soften ANY hearts? 

Article 1.  As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish, and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle, Romans 3:19, “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”  And verse 23:  “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  And Romans 6:23:  “for the wages of sin is death.”  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.  

But, God has graciously chosen to save some, namely His elect, vessels of His mercy.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;   from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof of Canons of Dordt.

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;  you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”  1 Peter 2:9-10.

Today’s devotion comes from John 12:27-36.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+12&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now My soul has become troubled;  and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?  But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven:  “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”  So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.”  Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.  Now judgment is upon this world;  now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  John 12:27-32.

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When Jesus stated “But for this purpose I came to this hour” and when Jesus stated “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”, Jesus meant that it was the purpose of God the Father that Jesus die to save all of God’s elect and that by his death, Jesus would draw all of the elect to Himself by bestowing on them justifying faith and all the other saving gifts purchased for them by His death as stated in the following Canons of Dordt.

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

This is “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Christ died only for the elect, not for everyone in the world.

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

This is a peculiar love, a special love just for His church. Just as a husband should not love and give himself up for all women, but only his own wife, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for only His church, not for everyone in the world.

In Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:9, we see Christ praying for only those whom God gave Him, not for the world:  “I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me;  for they are Thine;”

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”  John 6:39.

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