Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 19, 2021

“He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father”

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 1:4-6.

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:  Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  Revelation 1:4-6.

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In briefest summary, prophets receive a message from God to give to the people.  And, priests offer praise and prayers to God from the people.  Today, Scripture leads us to meditate on the wonderful statement:  “He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father”.

My lead and best thought, by day and by night, can be accessed by clicking on the first headnote “About God” in the upper left corner. It seeks to be a praise to God under the title “Total Perfect Triumph”. Without thinking about this priestly function of Christians, I have written at least this “About God” headnote and some of these daily devotions more as a praise to God than as a message to the people.  Very few people read these devotions, and fewer yet comment on them.  But, to date, God has not seen it fit for His purpose to do so or make me feel like I should boost distribution.  God has given me peace.

Many of you too may feel that few know about your service to our God.  So to speak, you may feel like you toil in obscurity.  But, God has given you peace too, knowing that you serve Him too.  And so, today’s Scripture should encourage all of us of the wonderful privilege and honor to “be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father”.  

“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;”  1 Peter 2:9.

“When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 5:8.

“May my prayer be counted as incense before You;
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.” Psalm 141:2.

“Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3-4.

“9 And they *sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

10 “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10.

Other doctrine thinks it proclaims God’s sovereignty and praises God, but it tries futilely to withhold God’s sovereignty over salvation, and instead praises man for his alleged free-will action in securing salvation for himself.

But, Reformed Doctrine proclaims God’s sovereignty over everything and praises God for everything, including and especially God’s work of salvation.

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10.

“11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”

14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:11-14.

Today’s devotion comes from Revelation 1:1-3.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it;  for the time is near.”  Revelation 1:1-3.

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“And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”;  and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place.

“And behold, I am coming quickly.  Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.  And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  But he *said to me, “Do not do that.  I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book.  Worship God.”

And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.  Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong;  and the one who is filthy, still be filthy;  and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness;  and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”  Revelation 22:6-11.

Consider the following from the Belgic Confession.

Article 37: Of the Last Judgment.

Finally we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come, and the number of the elect complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare himself judge of the quick and the dead;  burning this old world with fire and flame, to cleanse it.  And then all men will personally appear before this great judge, both men and women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof, being summoned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trumpet of God.  For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies, in which they formerly lived.  As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible, become incorruptible.  Then the books (that is to say the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil.  Nay, all men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest:  and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.  And therefore the consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect:  because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne.  Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed and tormented them in this world;  and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and being immortal, shall be tormented in that everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels.  But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor; and the Son of God will confess their names before God his Father, and his elect angels;  all tears shall be wiped from their eyes;  and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates, as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God.  And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory, as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.  Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  AMEN.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” – Revelation. 22:20.

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”  Revelation 22:12.

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:24-25.

“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.

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Yesterday’s Scriptures and the devotion focused on the grace of God.

“keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”  Jude 1:21.

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  Acts 20:32.

Today’s Scripture is the conclusion to the book of Jude and likewise focuses on the grace of God.

Other doctrine trusts in man and the wisdom, alleged free-will, and works of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God and the wisdom, will, and work of God.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

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 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.

“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.” Verses 24-25. 

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:17-23.

“But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”  These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.  But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.  And have mercy on some, who are doubting;  save others, snatching them out of the fire;  and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”  Jude 1:17-23.

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“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;  and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.  And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  Acts 20:29-32.

We have two sentences of similar exhortations which are in bold italic font.  The first sentence comes from today’s Scripture, and the other sentence comes from the above-quoted Acts 20:29-32.  When we meditate on these exhortations, despite the danger of such ungodly ones who are even called “savage wolves”, we come to realize that the exhortations are focused on God’s grace.

In the first sentence, regarding “building yourselves up on your most holy faith”, we have come to understand and believe that we have received our “most holy faith” from God as a gift of God.  “…To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:1-3.  “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 2:8-9.

Also, in the first sentence, “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life”, we have also come to understand and believe that God’s love to us is based on God’s grace and not based on anything we have done to earn it.  “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.  “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 5:8-10. 

In the other sentence, “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace …”, we most directly see Scripture described as as “the word of His grace”.

In summary, Reformed Doctrine is known as “the doctrines of grace”.  These “doctrines of grace” are not reserved for only the easy, sunny days that Christians enjoy, but “the doctrines of grace” are also the weapons on which Christian rely during the most difficult and darkest times of a Christian’s life.  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. …  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians 6:10-11 and 17.

“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.  And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”  Acts 20:31-32.  

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:11-16.

“Woe to them!  For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.  These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves;  clouds without water, carried along by winds;  autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted;  wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam;  wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.

It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts;  they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”  Jude 1:11-16. 

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We see similar Scripture in 2 Peter 2:15-19.

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;  but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved.  For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption;  for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.”  2 Peter 2:15-19.   

“But I will warn you whom to fear:  fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell;  yes, I tell you, fear Him!”  Luke 12:5. 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10.

“23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24.

“The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
But the tent of the upright will flourish.” Proverbs 14:11.

“16 Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the LORD sustains the righteous.
18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.
19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the LORD will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.” Psalm 37:16-20.

“A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless.” Proverbs 14:16.

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27.

“The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.” Proverbs 19:23.

“3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4 The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:3-6.

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:5-10.

“Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.  And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.  But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”  But these men revile the things which they do not understand;  and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.”  Jude 1:5-10.

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We see similar Scripture in 1 Peter 2:4-12.

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;  and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.

Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.  But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,”  1 Peter 2:4-12.

We notice the hope that is in 1 Peter 2:4-12 that is in bold italic font above.

God provides these Scriptures, such as Jude 1:5-10, 1 Peter 2:4-12, and other Scriptures so that we would see the example of what happened to the ungodly and so that we would turn to the Lord and turn away from wickedness, and not live ungodly lives.  2 Peter 2:6. 

God provides these Scriptures so that we would more earnestly seek the Lord Who “knows how to rescue the godly from temptation”.  2 Peter 2:9.

At the end of the chapter of today’s Scripture, we also have the hope provided by the conclusion.

“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.

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:3-4.

“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.  For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”  Jude 1:3-4.

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“Fight the good fight of faith;  take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  1 Timothy 6:12. 

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked;  for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Galatians 6:7-8.

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”  Matthew 7:15-23.

But, there is hope!

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;  …   then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.  …”  2 Peter 2:4-5 and 9-10. 

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.  To Him be honor and eternal dominion!  Amen.”  1 Timothy 6:13-16.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 10, 2021

“our common salvation”

Today’s devotion comes from Jude 1:1-3.

“1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,

To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:  2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.

3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, …”  Jude 1:1-3.

——————

The theme of today’s devotion is “our common salvation”.  Verse 3. 

Many of the New Testament books, also known as letters to the churches, begin by similar greetings and similar references to “our common salvation”.  Here are three examples.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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.”  Ephesians 1:1-6.

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:  May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

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 1:1-5.

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:1-3.

In conclusion, together in worship, we confess creeds, sing songs, and praise God for “our common salvation” by these and other elements of congregational worship.  “There is one body and one Spirit,  just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”  Ephesians 4:4-5.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 9, 2021

“I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

Today’s devotion comes from 3 John 1:13-15.

“I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink;  but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face.

Peace be to you.  The friends greet you.  Greet the friends by name.”  3 John 1:13-15.

——————–

This is more of a challenge to me than to others.  I am inclined to write rather than to speak face to face.  This may be more evident to some of you who receive these devotions by email generally addressed to “Dear Family and Friends” rather than by specific name or by more personal emails.  Likewise, in the 1990’s, when I lived in Florida and my mother lived in Michigan, even my mother received more letters in the form of Gold Mining devotions that you see in my web site than personal letters or visits.   

But, there is One Who leads us by name and Who will never leave us nor forsake us and Who gives us peace as the perfect example of today’s Scripture.

“To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  John 10:3-4.

“…  for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”  Hebrews 13:5.

“Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you;  not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  John 14:27. 

“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.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29. 

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 8, 2021

“The one who does good is of God”

Today’s devotion comes from 3 John 1:11-12.

“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good.  The one who does good is of God;  the one who does evil has not seen God.  Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself;  and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.”  3 John 1:11-12.

—————-

“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits.”  Matthew 7:17-18.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad;  for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.  The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good;  and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.”  Matthew 12:33-35. 

In the language of the following Canons of Dordt article, “when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect”, He makes them “like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.”

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. 

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him;  and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious:  anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”  1 John 3:9-10.

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:11-12.

“We know that no one who is born of God sins;  but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.  We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.   And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true;  and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.”  1 John 5:18-20.

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