Today’s devotion comes from Luke 3:1-9.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+3&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And he (John the Baptist) came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;  as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.
‘EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED,
AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW;
THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT,
AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH;
AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.  Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees;  so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Luke 3:3-9.

———————

The language of John the Baptist is shocking.  It is harsh and not what we hear in many churches today.

Many churches are more concerned about coddling their congregation:  “What can I do for you?“;  many churches are more concerned about pleasing their congregation, preaching on how they can live better lives, and praying for their every ache and pain, than they are concerned about their eternal destiny.

And yet, we see the need for man’s pride to be made low and the prophecy of accomplishment of it:  “EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW”.

Reformed Doctrine humbles man by its teaching of “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

When man is so humbled and emptied of its pride in its own works and will, it turns its focus from man to God, from what man has done to what God has done.  It leads to repentance and seeking of the salvation of God.

“Total Depravity” leads to the salvation of God:  from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Reformed creed Canons of Dordt.

“… AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”  Verse 6.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:39-52.

“When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.  The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom;  and the grace of God was upon Him.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;  and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.  But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey;  and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances.  When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him.  Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.  When they saw Him, they were astonished;  and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way?  Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.”  And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.  And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them;  and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  Luke 2:39-52.

———————

“Jesus kept increasing in wisdom”.  God’s grace enabled Jesus to increase in wisdom.  Jesus sought to increase in wisdom by being “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”  Jesus kept increasing “in favor with God and men.”

Let us follow Jesus and seek to be wise.  Let us seek wisdom from God, wisdom personified, Jesus Christ.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3.

“My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:1-9.

“My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.”  Proverbs 3:1-4.

“13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.”  Proverbs 3:13-18.

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.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:25-38.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;  and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”  Luke 2:25-32.

——————

“For so the Lord has commanded us,

‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’”

When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord;  and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”  Acts 13:47-48.

Salvation does not only extend to the group of Jews (Israel), but salvation extends to both groups:  Jews and Gentiles.

Not all in both groups are saved, but God elected for salvation some in both groups:  Jews and Gentiles, “and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

Reformed Doctrine teaches “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, that is, Christ’s atonement was “limited” to God’s elect.  In other words, Christ only died for God’s elect;  Christ did not die for every person who ever lived.

But, Christ’s atonement was unlimited in the sense that Christ’s atonement purchased all the saving gifts needed for the salvation of the elect.  Thus, Christ effectually redeemed all of God’s elect which were “out of every people, tribe, nation, and language” as stated in the following article of the 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.

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:11-21.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:21-24.

“And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”  Luke 2:21-24.

——————–

Today’s Scripture, “they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord …  and to offer a sacrifice”, reminds us of the following Scriptures.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2.

“and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”  Ephesians 4:23-24.

“trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:10.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-17.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Galatians 5:16.

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:12-13.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:15-20.

“When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”  Luke 2:15-20.

——————-

Mary and the shepherds are a good example for us on how we handle God’s Word.

Let us be like Mary and treasure all of God’s Words and ponder them in our heart.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:2-3.

“My son, if you will receive my words                                                                                              And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:1-9.

Let us also be like the shepherds and glorify and praise God.

“You who fear the LORD, praise Him;
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.”  Psalm 22:23.

“in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”  2 Chronicles 5:13-14.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:1-14.

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son;  and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid;  for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  Luke 2:1-14.

———————

Other doctrine praises man for who he is and what he has done.

But, Reformed Doctrine praises God for Who He is and what He has done.

Other doctrine seeks to give some glory to man.

But, Reformed Doctrine uses the words of today’s Scripture and states:  “Glory to God in the highest”.

Other doctrine thinks the good news is that man is good and can contribute good works or good will so that he can secure salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees that the good news of great joy is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.

Other doctrine thinks that God is pleased with all men and gives peace and joy to all men.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees that there is only peace for those “whom He is pleased”, namely His elect for all of whom Christ died and reconciled to God.

Reformed Doctrine understands that Scripture clearly teaches that there is no peace for the wicked.

“20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
For it cannot be quiet,
And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”  Isaiah 57:20-21.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”  Romans 1:18.

Reformed Doctrine further understands that in order for us to have peace with God, we need to be reconciled to God and saved from God’s wrath through Jesus Christ.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand;  and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  …

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man;  though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:1-2 and 6-10.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 31, 2018

“He has … accomplished redemption for His people.”

I am leaving for a short trip to Michigan to see friends.  My next devotion, God willing, will be Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
This is an abbreviated devotion.
67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant—
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
71 Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
72 To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
79 To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.”  Luke 1:67-80.
——————
I want to make 2 points.
First, “He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.”  This is not a partial redemption dependent on man to complete it and accomplish it by his works or his will.
This is a complete “accomplished redemption” in which God provides and accomplishes all that His elect need for salvation.
Second, through God’s grace, God’s preachers and teachers “give to His people the knowledge of salvation”.  TULIP best summarizes this salvation “accomplished” by God as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 1:57-66.

“Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.  Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her;  and they were rejoicing with her.

And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father.  But his mother answered and said, “No indeed;  but he shall be called John.”  And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.”  And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called.  And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.”  And they were all astonished.  And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.  Fear came on all those living around them;  and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.  All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?”  For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.”  Luke 1:57-66.

———————

In today’s devotion, we will meditate on a few Scriptures that talk about the hand of the Lord.

First, we notice that the hand of the Lord generally represents “what the LORD did” as compared to what we are able to do with our own strength, wisdom, and other abilities.

“You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’  And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth;  for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt.”  Exodus 13:8-9.

Second, we notice “the saving strength” of the hand of the Lord.  It is the Lord Who saves.  Although other doctrine boasts about what it contributed to its salvation whether it be works or the will to be saved, Reformed Doctrine recognizes “the saving strength” of the hand of the Lord and that it leaves no room for boasting in our self.  We will only boast in the Lord, because the Lord does all that we need for salvation.

“6 Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.
7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.”  Psalm 20:6-7.

Third, we notice that the hand of the Lord causes us to be able to do great things for the Lord.  In today’s Scripture, we read:  “All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?”  For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.”  Verse 66.  That is, the people wondered what great things that John would do for the Lord because the Lord was with him  And, in the following Scripture, despite persecution, there were men who preached the Lord Jesus, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”

“So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.  But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”  Acts 11:19-21.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 1:46-56.

“46 And Mary said:

“My soul exalts the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
50 “AND HIS MERCY IS UPON GENERATION AFTER GENERATION
TOWARD THOSE WHO FEAR HIM.
51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 “He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”

56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.”   Luke 1:46-56.

——————————-

Which doctrine is most consistent with today’s Scripture?

Other doctrine which focuses on man and what man has done?

Or, Reformed Doctrine which focuses on God and what God has done?

Reformed Doctrine joyfully exalts God and proclaims the the wonderful things of His salvation which He has done:  from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Reformed creed Canons of Dordt. 

“O sing to the LORD a new song,
For He has done wonderful things,
His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
2 The LORD has made known His salvation;
He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.”  Psalm 98:1-3.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 1:39-45.

“Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me?  For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”  Luke 1:39-45.

————————-

Mary is uniquely blessed as the only one who is the mother of Jesus.  “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

But, Mary is also blessed as many who have faith like Abraham and all other believers.   “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

“The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”  Galatians 3:8-9.

“For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (as it is written, “A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU”) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.  In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE.”  Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb;  yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.  Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him, but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”  Romans 4:16-25.

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