Today’s devotion comes from John 4:46-54.

“Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.  And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum.  When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and was imploring Him to come down and heal his son;  for he was at the point of death.  So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.”  The royal official *said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus *said to him, “Go;  your son lives.”  The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off.  As he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living.  So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better.  Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”  So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives”;  and he himself believed and his whole household.  This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.”  John 4:46-54.

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The royal official did not need to see a sign from Jesus.  The royal official believed Jesus at His word ““Go;  your son lives.”, and he started off.

We should be like the royal official and believe God’s Word without the need to see a sign or wonder.

We should not be like “Doubting Thomas”.  “So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”  John 20:25.

“Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”  John 20:29.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;  for who hopes for what he already sees?”  Romans 8:24.

“yet, with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) 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.”  Romans 4:20-22.

Today’s devotion comes from John 4:31-38.

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”  But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.”  So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”  Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.  Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’?  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.  Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal;  so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.  For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored;  others have labored and you have entered into their labor.”  John 4:31-38.

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These words of Christ, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”, inspire us by His Spirit within us that we will also have that attitude.

Christ also taught us:  “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”  John 6:27.

We may feel inadequate, but we notice in the above Scripture that God gives us this food that endures to eternal life.

“Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”  John 6:32-33.

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:28-29.

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

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

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

Today’s devotion comes from John 4:27-30 and John 4:39-42.

“At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?”  So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and *said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done;  this is not the Christ, is it?”  They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

“From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.”  So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them;  and He stayed there two days.  Many more believed because of His word;  and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”  John 4:27-30 and John 4:39-42.

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Like the Samaritan woman, we may not receive full credit and honor for our testimony and for our work (our sowing, so to speak).

“For in this case the saying is true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’”  John 4:37.

But, we can rejoice together with those who reap that God’s kingdom is growing.

“…  so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.”  John 4:36.

And, as stated in the following Scripture, each (“he who plants and he who waters”) “will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

Most importantly, God gives opportunity to each one, and God causes the growth.  God should receive the full credit and honor.

“What then is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.  I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one;  but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.  For we are God’s fellow workers;  you are God’s field, God’s building.”  1 Corinthians 3:5-9.

Today’s devotion comes from John 4:15-26.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ);  when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.”  Jesus *said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  John 4:15-26.

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Today’s devotion presents Scriptures that help us meditate on the importance of worshiping God in spirit and truth and how we worship God in spirit and truth.

First, we meditate on the spirit:  the importance of worshiping God in spirit and how we worship God in spirit.

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”  Romans 8:9.

“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;  for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:5-7.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  Romans 8:14-15.

“Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;  for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,  although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews;  as to the Law, a Pharisee;  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;  as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:2-9.

“I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:20-21.

Second, we meditate on the truth:  the importance of worshiping God in truth and how we worship God in truth.

“Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;  no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6.

“For the Law was given through Moses;  grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:17.

“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 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 1:3-4 and 7-8.

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

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”  Colossians 2:9-10.

Consider these severe warnings.

Q. 30.  Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?

A.  They do not;  for though they boast of Him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Savior;  for one of these two things must be true, either that Jesus is not a complete Savior, or that they who by a true faith receive this Savior must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.  Heidelberg Catechism.

“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law;  you have fallen from grace.  For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”  Galatians 5:4-5.

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;  which is really not another;  only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:6-9.

Due to these severe warnings, we better know the truth.  We better know what is this true gospel of Christ.

Yet, it is astonishing how few churches know and present what the true gospel of Christ is.

Most churches present the gospel as good news that salvation is dependent on man’s free-will choice, that is, God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and it is up to man to use his free-will to either accept or reject Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine understands that it is not the gospel, and it is not good news, for salvation to be dependent on man’s free-will choice.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

“… you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1.

Reformed Doctrine presents the gospel as good news that salvation is entirely dependent on the work of God, that is, God only loves His elect, Christ died only for God’s elect, and Christ through His sacrificial death, purchased and obtained all the saving gifts (including faith) that is necessary for the salvation of God’s elect.

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

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.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation …”  Romans 1:16.

Today’s devotion comes from John 4:1-14.  Here is a link to this Scripture –  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“There *came a woman of Samaria to draw water.  Jesus *said to her, “Give Me a drink.”  For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  Therefore the Samaritan woman *said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?”  (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)  Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  She *said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep;  where then do You get that living water?  You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?”  Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst;  but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  John 4:7-14.

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What is that “water” that Jesus gives that will become “a well of water springing up to eternal life”?

Is that water simply reference to the Holy Spirit?

If so, why is there both the need to be born both “of water and the Spirit” in order to be born again such as in the following verse?  “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  John 3:5.

Is that water a reference to the water used to baptize believers such as in the following verse?  “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?”  Acts 10:47.

Does the action of water in a spring describe the springing action of the Holy Spirit such as in the following verse?  “…  the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  Verse 14.

Does the action of water in cleansing describe the cleansing action of the Holy Spirit such as in the following Scriptures?  

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

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:25-27.

Does the action of water in quenching thirst describe the quenching action of spiritual thirst of the Holy Spirit such as in the following verses?  “Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst;  …”  Verses 13-14.

Here are more Scriptures.

“3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;
4 And they will spring up among the grass
Like poplars by streams of water.’”  Isaiah 44:3-4.

“I (John the Baptist) baptized you with water;  but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  Mark 1:8.

Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;  and a voice came out of the heavens:  “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  Mark 1:10-11.

“Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  Verse 10.

“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”  John 19:34.

This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ;  not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood.  It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.  For there are three that testify:  the Spirit and the water and the blood;  and the three are in agreement.”  1 John 5:6-8.

Today’s devotion comes from John 3:31-36.

“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.  What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies;  and no one receives His testimony.  He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.  For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God;  for He gives the Spirit without measure.  The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand.  He who believes in the Son has eternal life;  but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  John 3:31-36.

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“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God;  for He gives the Spirit without measure.”  Verse 34.

“It is the Spirit who gives life;  the flesh profits nothing;  the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”  John 6:63.

“What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies;  and no one receives His testimony.”  Verse 32.

“He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:11-13.

“Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  John 3:5.

“But there are some of you who do not believe.”  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.  And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”  John 6:64-65.

“So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”  Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have words of eternal life.  We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”  John 6:67-68.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life;  but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”  Verse 36.

Today’s devotion comes from John 3:22-30.

“After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing.  John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized— for John had not yet been thrown into prison.

Therefore there arose a discussion on the part of John’s disciples with a Jew about purification.  And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.”  John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  He who has the bride is the bridegroom;  but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.  So this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:22-30.

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John and Jesus were baptizing in the same area.  But, apparently more, maybe many more, were coming to Jesus to be baptized.

It would be a natural human condition for John to be jealous, particularly because John’s reputation was known by his name:  John the Baptist.

But, John the Baptist recognized that Jesus would not have had the success in drawing people to be baptized if God had not given Him that gift.  “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.”  Verse 27.

There is a mini-lesson here for us to not be jealous of the gifts and success that God has given to others.  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:11-13.

John the Baptist did not demand to be the center of attention.  John did not pout.

Just the opposite, John the Baptist made Jesus the center of attention.  John rejoiced in Jesus and His success.  “…  So this joy of mine has been made full.  He must increase, but I must decrease.”  Verses 29-30.

Other doctrine makes their own alleged free-will to choose Christ, their own wisdom to choose Christ, and their own works the center of attention of salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine makes God’s sovereign will, God’s wisdom, and God’s work the center of attention of salvation.  

Reformed Doctrine rejoices that God provides all that we need for salvation from beginning to end:  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, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

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 John 3:16-21.

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

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Other doctrine pull out John 3:16 as supporting its teaching that God loves everybody.  But, it ignores the rest of the Scripture.

Reformed Doctrine understands the meaning of John 3:16 to be that God loves and “… effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, …”  Article 8 of SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.  In other words, God does not only love certain Jewish people or certain Dutch people.  God loves and effectually redeems all of His elect, Jews and Gentiles, who are scattered over all the world.

Moreover, most of this Scripture does not deal with love but rather deals with hate.  And, this Scripture does not even deal with God’s threat to punish those He hates.  They have already been judged guilty and their punishment has already been determined and set as part of the judgment:  “he who does not believe has been judged already”.  Verse 18.

‘4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.”  Psalm 5:4-6.

There is a sharp contrast between the evil and the elect.

“…  men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  Verses 19-21.

This language (“his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”) points to the sharp contrast between other doctrine and Reformed Doctrine.

Other doctrine believe that their deeds are done through their own alleged free-will, their own wisdom, and their own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes their deeds are done through God’s will, God’s wisdom, and God’s work.

This language describing the elect (“his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”) should give great pause to those who depend on their alleged free-will, their wisdom, and their work for their deeds, rather than depending on God’s will, God’s wisdom, and God’s work for their deeds.

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

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

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

Today’s devotion comes from John 3:9-15.

“Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?  Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.  If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?  No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven:  the Son of Man.  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”  John 3:9-15.

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Faith in Jesus (including the reasons for it) is the subject of today’s devotion.

First, those who believe in Him (Jesus) have eternal life.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.”  Verses 14-15.

Second, Jesus is the perfect witness Who can teach us heavenly things because He has been in heaven.

“No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven:  the Son of Man.”  Verse 13.

Third, Jesus testifies of what He has seen and knows, so we should believe Him.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.”  Verse 11.

Today’s devotion comes from John 3:1-8.

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;  this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher;  for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old?  He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;  so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:1-8.

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Other doctrine teaches that the will of man determines who will be saved.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that the will of God determines who will be saved:  “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:13.

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Verse 3.

Other doctrine teaches that you can see when one is born again, because it occurs through a visible action of man’s will such as the action of man to walk up in response to a public altar call.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that you cannot see when one is born again, because it occurs through God’s invisible action of giving His Spirit to His elect, regenerating them, causing them to be born of the Spirit.

“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going;  so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  Verse 8.

Reformed Doctrine labels it “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  Here is what the Canons of Dordt states about it in the section “THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof”.

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.

Article 12.  And this is the regeneration so highly celebrated in Scripture, and denominated a new creation:  a resurrection from the dead, a making alive, which God works in us without our aid.  But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation, that after God has performed his part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted, or to continue unconverted;  but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable;  not inferior in efficacy to creation, or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scripture inspired by the author of this work declares;  so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner, are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe.  –  Whereupon the will thus renewed, is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence, becomes itself active.  Wherefore also, man is himself rightly said to believe and repent, by virtue of that grace received.

Article 13.  The manner of this operation cannot be fully comprehended by believers in this life.  Notwithstanding which, they rest satisfied with knowing and experiencing, that by this grace of God they are enabled to believe with the heart, and love their Savior.

“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.

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