Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 26, 2016

God’s favor toward His chosen ones

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 106:1-5.

“Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can show forth all His praise?
3 How blessed are those who keep justice,
Who practice righteousness at all times!

4 Remember me, O Lord, in Your favor toward Your people;
Visit me with Your salvation,
5 That I may see the prosperity of Your chosen ones,
That I may rejoice in the gladness of Your nation,
That I may glory with Your inheritance.”  Psalm 106:1-5.

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God has favor toward His people.  Verse 4.

What does God’s favor do for His people?

In verses 4-5, we read four blessings of God’s favor upon His people, and we read four descriptions of His people.

God’s favor gives His “people” “salvation”.

God’s favor gives His “chosen ones” “prosperity”.

God’s favor gives His “nation” “gladness”.

God’s favor gives His “inheritance” “glory”.

Other doctrine has a god who waits to see what people do and then reacts.

But, Reformed Doctrine has the God of Scripture Who has favor upon His people, His chosen ones, giving them salvation, prosperity, gladness, and glory. 

“For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.”  Psalm 5:2.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11.

“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 Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-7.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and 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 2:4-7.

“Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  Verse 1.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 105:25-45.

“25 He turned their heart to hate His people,
To deal craftily with His servants.
26 He sent Moses His servant,
And Aaron, whom He had chosen.
27 They performed His wondrous acts among them,
And miracles in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made it dark;
And they did not rebel against His words.
29 He turned their waters into blood
And caused their fish to die.
30 Their land swarmed with frogs
Even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came a swarm of flies
And gnats in all their territory.
32 He gave them hail for rain,
And flaming fire in their land.
33 He struck down their vines also and their fig trees,
And shattered the trees of their territory.
34 He spoke, and locusts came,
And young locusts, even without number,
35 And ate up all vegetation in their land,
And ate up the fruit of their ground.
36 He also struck down all the firstborn in their land,
The first fruits of all their vigor.

37 Then He brought them out with silver and gold,
And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
For the dread of them had fallen upon them.
39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
And fire to illumine by night.
40 They asked, and He brought quail,
And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock and water flowed out;
It ran in the dry places like a river.
42 For He remembered His holy word
With Abraham His servant;
43 And He brought forth His people with joy,
His chosen ones with a joyful shout.
44 He gave them also the lands of the nations,
That they might take possession of the fruit of the peoples’ labor,
45 So that they might keep His statutes
And observe His laws,
Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 105:25-45.

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“And He brought forth His people with joy,
His chosen ones with a joyful shout.”  Verse 43.

Look at all the LORD’s attention and wonderful works for “His people” a/k/a “His chosen ones”!

Other doctrine teaches that God loves everyone and that salvation depends on the individual’s wisdom and alleged free-will (and maybe even works) to distinguish themselves worthy for salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God does not love everyone, but only loves His elect, only showing “His chosen ones” mercy and lovingkindness.

“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.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-18.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 24, 2016

“election is the fountain of every saving good”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 105:1-24.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+105&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of all His wonders.
3 Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
4 Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
Remember His wonders which He has done,
His marvels and the judgments uttered by His mouth,
6 O seed of Abraham, His servant,
O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!
7 He is the Lord our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.

8 He has remembered His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
9 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the portion of your inheritance,”
12 When they were only a few men in number,
Very few, and strangers in it.”  Psalm 105:1-12.

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The Psalmist reminds them that they are recipients of God’s blessings, because they are His chosen ones.

“Remember His wonders which He has done, …
O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!”  Verses 5-6.

The Psalmist reminds them that the covenantal blessing of Canaan was given to them “When they were only a few men in number,
Very few, and strangers in it.”  Verse 12.

“The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”  Deuteronomy 7:7-8.

We too are recipients of God’s blessings, because we too are God’s chosen ones.

When Reformed Doctrine teaches “Unconditional Election”, it is not some dusty cold theological point that should be minimized, but it is just the opposite, election is the warm embracing all-important basis and reason why God blesses us.

“… election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself …”  Article 9 of FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

“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.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 104.  Here is a link to this chapter –  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+104&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the labor of man,
So that he may bring forth food from the earth,
15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.
16 The trees of the Lord drink their fill,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
17 Where the birds build their nests,
And the stork, whose home is the fir trees.

18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim.
19 He made the moon for the seasons;
The sun knows the place of its setting.
20 You appoint darkness and it becomes night,
In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
21 The young lions roar after their prey
And seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises they withdraw
And lie down in their dens.
23 Man goes forth to his work
And to his labor until evening.

24 O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.
25 There is the sea, great and broad,
In which are swarms without number,
Animals both small and great.
26 There the ships move along,
And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it.

27 They all wait for You
To give them their food in due season.
28 You give to them, they gather it up;
You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
29 You hide Your face, they are dismayed;
You take away their spirit, they expire
And return to their dust.
30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.

31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;”  Psalm 104:14-31.

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Other doctrine proposes evolution.

But, Reformed Doctrine praises God for His creation.  We see this throughout Scripture which repeatedly pounds the table that God created earth, heaven, and all therein and which praises God for His creation.

We see it in the very first verse of Scripture (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Genesis 1:1).  We see it in the very last book of Scripture.  (“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power;  for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”  Revelation 4:11).  And, we see it in the middle such as in today’s Scripture.

We see this attribution and praise in the Reformed Creeds.

“Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”? 

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence …  Heidelberg Catechism.

Article 12:  Of the Creation.
We believe that the Father, by the Word, that is, by his Son, hath created of nothing, the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him, giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator. That he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence, and infinite power, for the service of mankind, to the end that man may serve his God.  …  Belgic Confession. 

Q. 15.  What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.  Westminster Larger Catechism.

“O Lord, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.”  Verse 24.

“30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the ground.

31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever;
Let the Lord be glad in His works;”  Verses 30-31.

The righteous praise God for His creation.

“Let my meditation be pleasing to Him;
As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord.”  Verse 34.

But, the wicked do not properly credit God for His creation.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.  For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  Romans 1:18-21.

“Let sinners be consumed from the earth
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!”  Verse 35.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 103:15-22.

“15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
17 But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.

19 The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the Lord, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the Lord, O my soul!”  Psalm 103:15-22.

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Man’s days are fleeting.

Man’s affections are fickle.

“But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, …”  Verse 17.

Other doctrine presents their god as one whose lovingkindness is dependent on man even though his days are fleeting and his affections are fickle.

But, Reformed Doctrine presents the God of Scripture Whose lovingkindness is dependent on Himself:  the Faithful One Who is “eternal”, “immutable”, “almighty”, “and the overflowing fountain of all good” in the language of Article 1 of the Belgic Confession.

Furthermore, Reformed Doctrine points out that Scripture shows the lovingkindness of the LORD is part of His sovereign rule over all.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Verse 19.

We see this everlasting lovingkindness of the LORD in Reformed Doctrine’s point of “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“… 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 …”  Ephesians 1:4-5.

We see this everlasting lovingkindness of the LORD in Reformed Doctrine’s point of “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“Israel has been saved by the Lord
With an everlasting salvation;
You will not be put to shame or humiliated
To all eternity.”  Isaiah 45:17.

We also see this everlasting lovingkindess of the LORD in Reformed Doctrine’s point of “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3.

We also see this everlasting lovingkindess of the LORD in Reformed Doctrine’s point of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;  …”  Psalm 138:8.

In summary, when we do a keyword search of “everlasting lovingkindness” in Scripture, we see how often the lovingkindness of the LORD is described as everlasting.

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  1 Chronicles 16:34.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 103:6-14.

“6 The Lord performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.”  Psalm 103:6-14.

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God is not surprised when we sin.

“For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.”  Verse 14.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes man’s “frame” as “Total Depravity”, that is, in his natural condition, man is dead in sin, hostile to God, and enslaved to sin and Satan.  “Total Depravity” is the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Other doctrine portrays their god as one who is surprised and shocked by sin and who quickly turns away from his people when they sin.  After all, they knew better and could do better, and they have free-will to choose good or bad.

But, Reformed Doctrine shows the God of Scripture Who understands His children and Who does not turn away, but rather Who has compassion on His children and is gracious to them, forgiving their sins.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Romans 5:6.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and 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.  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 2:4-9.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm 103:1-5.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”  Psalm 103:1-5.

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“He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.”  Luke 1:53.

“But let the righteous be glad;  let them exult before God;
Yes, let them rejoice with gladness.”  Psalm 68:3.

“11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!”  Psalm 84:11-12.

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.”  Psalm 40:5.

“…  How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”  Romans 10:15.

“… those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:31.

“11 The Lord gives the command;
The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host:
12 “Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home will divide the spoil!”
13 When you lie down among the sheepfolds,
You are like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And its pinions with glistening gold.”  Psalm 68:11-13.

“5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 104:5-6.

“And wine which makes man’s heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man’s heart.”  Psalm 104:15.

“Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”  Deuteronomy 6:10-12.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:28-30.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”  Romans 8:32.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 102.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+102&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“18 This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.
19 For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the Lord gazed upon the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,
21 That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion
And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord.

23 He has weakened my strength in the way;
He has shortened my days.
24 I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days,
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 “Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 “Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
27 “But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.
28 “The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”  Psalm 102:18-28.

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The Psalmist experienced great suffering.

“3 For my days have been consumed in smoke,
And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.
4 My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away,
Indeed, I forget to eat my bread.”  Verses 3-4.

The Psalmist recognized the shortness of his life.

“My days are like a lengthened shadow,
And I wither away like grass.”  Verse 11.

And yet, the Psalmist praised God for His eternal, unchanging good nature and His faithfulness to His servants.

“27 “But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.
28 “The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”  Verses 27-28.

Article 1:  That there is One Only God.
We all believe with the heart, and confess with the mouth, that there is one only simple and spiritual Being, which we call God;  and that he is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.  Belgic Confession. 

“Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant and praise is becoming.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
4 He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
5 Great is our Lord and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite.
6 The Lord supports the afflicted;
He brings down the wicked to the ground.

7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Sing praises to our God on the lyre,
8 Who covers the heavens with clouds,
Who provides rain for the earth,
Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
9 He gives to the beast its food,
And to the young ravens which cry.
10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 147:1-11.

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 101.

“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.
I will give heed to the blameless way.
When will You come to me?
I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
4 A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.
5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy;
No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me.
7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me.
8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity.”  Psalm chapter 101.

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The Psalmist first thinks of the LORD in his intent to praise God.

“I will sing of lovingkindness and justice,
To You, O Lord, I will sing praises.”  Verse 1.

Then, the Psalmist states his intention to give heed to the blameless way.

“I will give heed to the blameless way.  …”  Verse 2.

But, the Psalmist recognizes that he needs the LORD to be blameless.

“…  When will You come to me?”  Verse 2.

We know that “the blameless way” comes through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:4-9.

“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.

“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.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

“… 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 1:25-27.

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—”  Colossians 1:21-22.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 16, 2016

“We are His people and the sheep of His pasture”

Today’s devotion comes from Psalm chapter 100.

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
3 Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”   Psalm chapter 100.

———————

Not all people are “His people”.

“25 As He says also in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
26 “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”  Romans 9:25-26.

“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 2:10.

Not all people are “the sheep of His pasture”.

“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  John 10:26-28.

All the wonderful promises of God that He will bless us and show us His lovingkindness and His faithfulness are not for all people, but rather, all the wonderful promises of God are only for “His people”. 

“His people” are those who believe in Christ a/k/a those who belong to Christ a/k/a those who are in Christ. 

“7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe (in Christ);  but for those who disbelieve,

“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”

8 and,

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

9 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;  10 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 2:7-10.

“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”  Galatians 3:29.

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him (Christ) they are yes;  therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.  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 1:20-22.

In conclusion, a good summary of the importance of belonging to Christ is found in Question and Answer 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A.  That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;  who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil;  and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;  yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.

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