Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 9:14-17.

“Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”  And Jesus said to them, “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?  But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.  But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment;  for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.  Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins;  otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined;  but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”  Matthew 9:14-17.

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What is the common theme of these three illustrations:  fasting, repairing, and preserving?

We do not fast like the Pharisees, because like the disciples, we are with Christ, and even more, we are joined to Christ and filled with the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.

We are not repaired by the “unshrunk” patch of the inflexible Law so to speak, because we are released from the Law and we are sanctified, repaired so to speak, by the Holy Spirit.

We are preserved by the Holy Spirit, because we died to the Law and have become new creatures in Christ, being filled with the Holy Spirit and serving in newness of the Spirit.

“Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.”  Romans 7:4-6.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 9:9-13.

“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth;  and He *said to him, “Follow Me!”  And he got up and followed Him.

Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”  But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.  But go and learn what this means:  ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9:9-13.

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The Pharisees, thought they were righteous, deserving to be saved by their sacrifices, wisdom, or will.  But, Jesus was not attracted by their sacrifices or anything else that they did.

The tax collectors and sinners, knew they were sinners.  But, Jesus was motivated only by His compassion on them to save them.

Like the Pharisees, other doctrine focuses on their sacrifices, wisdom, or will, thinking their contributions will motivate Jesus to save them.

But, like the tax collectors and other sinners, Reformed Doctrine knows that all who are saved are sinners, not at all righteous, but rather subject to “Total Depravity”.  Reformed Doctrine knows there is no one who is righteous or otherwise attractive by their contributions (sacrifices, wisdom, or will) that motivates Jesus to save them.  Reformed Doctrine knows that the only reason that anyone is saved is if Jesus had compassion on that person, because he or she is part of God’s elect.

Therefore, what this means:  ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” is that God is motivated to save by His compassion, not motivated by sacrifices or anything else done by man.

“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.

“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.

“… I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion,
And I will say to those who were not My people,
‘You are My people!’
And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”  Hosea 2:23.

“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.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 9:1-8.

“Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city.

And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son;  your sins are forgiven.”  And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.”  And he got up and went home.  But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”  Matthew 9:1-8.

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This story of the paralytic man reminds us of the Reformed Doctrine of salvation.

The paralytic man did not appear to have done good works that would earn him forgiveness.  He was a paralytic.

The paralytic man also did not appear to have faith that Jesus would forgive his sins.  At best, the paralytic man and those who brought him had faith that Jesus could heal him, but they did not have faith that Jesus would forgive him.

The paralytic man reminds us of our condition:  “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  We did no works nor had faith nor had other attractiveness that motivated God to save us.

The wise and strong men, the scribes, who appeared worthy of salvation, accused Jesus of blasphemy.

But, the weak and maybe foolish man, the paralytic man, was chosen to be healed and forgiven.

The healing and forgiveness of the paralytic man reminds us of “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “… God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-31.

“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 2:5-9.

The healing and forgiveness of the paralytic man also reminds us that God provides all that we need for body and soul as we confess in the Question and Answer 26 of the Heidelberg Catechism:  “… I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body …”.

Instead of worrying so much about the scribes in our life, the wise and strong men who are offended by predestination and “Unconditional Election”, we should be like the crowd.  “But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God …”  Verse 8.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 8:28-34.

“When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs.  They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.  And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God?  Have You come here to torment us before the time?”  Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them.  The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.”  And He said to them, “Go!”  And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.  The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.  And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus;  and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.”  Matthew 8:28-34.

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In this Scripture, Jesus only said one word:  “Go!”  Jesus effectively showed His character as God and His power by casting out the demons with that one word.

Other doctrine try to save with its many words and eloquence.  But, trying to save with many words and eloquence is as futile as it would be to try to cast out demons without the power of God.

Reformed Doctrine knows the “Total Depravity” character of man and relies alone on the power of God to save through “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

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

There is only one gospel.  There is only one good news.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation.  People are not going to be saved by other doctrine which relies on its many words and eloquence and the alleged free-will of man.  People are only going to be saved by the power of God.

“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-5.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 8:18-22.

“Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea.  Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”  Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”  Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But Jesus *said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”  Matthew 8:18-22.

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Like the scribe, we may think that we have free-will and the ability to follow Jesus.  “Then a scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”  Verse 19.

But, we notice that Jesus did not thank him nor compliment him.  Rather, Jesus pointed to the difficulty of following Him.  Verses 20-22.

Nevertheless, other doctrine still focus on man and man’s alleged free-will and man’s ability to follow Jesus.

But, there is hope!

Reformed Doctrine recognizes the hope that is in God alone and focuses on God and God’s grace which gives to man all that man needs to follow Jesus.  Reformed Doctrine summarizes this gift as “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;  and I will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:44.

“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 6:65.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” John 6:37.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 17, 2018

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 8:14-17.

“When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.  He touched her hand, and the fever left her;  and she got up and waited on Him.  When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed;  and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:  “HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES.”  Matthew 8:14-17.

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Other doctrine focus on man and what man should do.

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  John 6:28.

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and what God does.

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:29.

“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;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”  Psalm 103:1-5.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 8:1-13.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”  Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.”  But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me;  and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”  Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;  but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go;  it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.”  Matthew 8:5-13.

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The centurion, likely a Roman centurion, a foreigner, a Gentile, “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (to use the language of Ephesians 2:12) nevertheless expressed his belief that Jesus could do all that was necessary to heal his servant.  The centurion’s faith was contrasted with the faith of those in Israel.

“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;  but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Verses 10-12.

Jesus could have only praised the centurion’s faith and only stated that many Gentiles (of similar faith) would be in the kingdom of heaven.

Why did Jesus add:  “but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”?

There are those content to be a part of a religious group.

By the Parable of Marriage Feast, Jesus taught us that the presence alone at marriage feast was not sufficient to make one welcome.  One must be chosen to be there.

“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’  And the man was speechless.  Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:11-14.

The religious group may be large and popular, but mere presence within that group is not sufficient.

The extent of faith is important.  The centurion believed that Jesus could do all that was necessary to heal his servant.  Specifically, the centurion believed that it was not necessary for him to host Jesus at his home in order for Jesus to heal his servant.

Most believe and teach that they must do certain things in order for Christ to save them whether it be sufficient works or at least sufficient alleged free-will choice of Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes and teaches that it is important to not trust in themselves to do these things, but rather, it is important to trust in God alone to do all that is required for salvation from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I” and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “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.

“Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

“And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”  And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door;  for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 7:24-29.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house;  and it fell—and great was its fall.”

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching;  for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”  Matthew 7:24-29.

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How do we act on Jesus’ words?

In summary, we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.  Matthew 6:33.  We enter by the narrow gate.  Matthew 7:13.

On Whom do we rest?

In summary, we rest upon the Rock, the LORD God Almighty.

“Trust in the LORD forever,
For in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”  Isaiah 26:4.

Other doctrine broadly trusts in themselves to contribute and maintain sufficient works or at least sufficient alleged free-will choice of Christ in order to be saved.  In sum, they trust in their flesh.

But, Reformed Doctrine narrowly trusts in God to provide and preserve everything that they need for salvation.  In sum, they trust in God alone.

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”  Psalm 18:2.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 7:12-23.

“13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “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.  22 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?’  23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”  Matthew 7:12-23.

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Yesterday’s devotion was the longest devotion (or at least one of the longest devotions) that I ever posted.  Today, I wanted to provide a summary of it.

Most people think they can believe what they want and do what they want and still be saved.

This Scripture refutes such belief by its repeated warnings.

As an example of one of the warnings, Jesus states:  “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.”  Verse 21.

There is not a broad range of acceptable truths.  There is one narrow truth.

There is not a broad range of acceptable gospels (good news).  There is only one narrow gospel (good news).

“Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Verses 13-14.

“And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24.

Scripture exhorts us to seek for wisdom and the kingdom of God as one would seek for silver or hidden treasure.

“If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;  Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God.”  Proverbs 2:4-5.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again;  and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”  Matthew 13:44-46.

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 7:12-23.

“12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.  16 You will know them by their fruits.  Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?  17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “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.  22 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?’  23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”  Matthew 7:12-23.

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In this devotion, we will focus on verses 13-14.  “Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

We find similar verses else where in Scripture.  “And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?”  And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door;  for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”  Luke 13:23-24.

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  Matthew 22:14.

Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth.

Jesus said both in Matthew 15:9 and Mark 7:7:  ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”

Jesus also stated in John 16:13:  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;  …”

Jesus also stated in John 4:23-24:  “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.”

Not any kind of worship will suffice, but “worship in spirit and truth”.

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  Romans 11:1-4.

Not any kind of zeal will suffice, but zeal “in accordance with knowledge”, or in other words, in accordance with truth.

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13.

Not any kind of faith will suffice, but “faith in the truth”.

There are those who “did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved”.  2 Thessalonians 2: 10-13.

Not any kind of love will suffice, but “the love of truth”.

The Broad Way of Most Doctrine Compared to the Narrow Way of Reformed Doctrine a/k/a Calvinism 

Most doctrine (including specifically Arminianism) is like a broad bridge open to everyone, but it only goes half-way across the river.  Such doctrine teaches that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and God wants to save everyone, but it is up to man to contribute something worthy of salvation.  The only difference between the unsaved and saved is that the saved does works or maybe as little as uses his  alleged free-will to, so to speak, jump from the end of the bridge, across the river, to the shore of salvation.  Arminians believe that everyone has an equal opportunity to be saved, but that Christ’s death completely saved no one in particular.  Only those who do sufficient works or who take a sufficient “free will leap of faith” to the shore of salvation will be saved.  Thus, the bridge is wide, open to everyone, but it only goes halfway across the stream.  Accordingly, the saved have reason to boast for contributing to their own salvation and showing themselves worthy of salvation.

In sharp contrast to most doctrine (including specifically Arminianism), Reformed Doctrine a/k/a Calvinism is like a narrow bridge only open to God’s elect, but the narrow bridge goes all the way across the river to the shore of salvation.  Reformed Doctrine a/k/a Calvinism teaches that God only loves His elect and only wants to save them and that Christ died only for the elect.  In summary, God does everything necessary for the salvation of His elect.  Reformed Doctrine a/k/a Calvinism teaches that man is totally depraved (first point of Calvinism) that he is “dead” in sin, hostile to God, cannot please God, cannot understand the things of God, and is in bondage to sin and Satan, such that God must do everything for the elect, including making them alive (regenerating them), giving them faith, sanctifying them, and preserving them to salvation, so that all of God’s elect will be saved.  Accordingly, God’s elect have no reason to boast for God provided everything needed for their salvation.

Can people believe whatever they want and still be saved?  Or, in other words, will Arminians be saved?

I realize that even posing this question may seem arrogant to the reader, but even if this question is not expressed, many churches and leaders think that they are the keeper of the keys to heaven.  Each group tends to scoff at another group in front of them who they think are too liberal and let too many people think that they are in the kingdom, and yet they will criticize the group behind them as being too conservative and too strict and too narrow-minded and too not caring.  Each group on the spectrum thinks of themselves as moderate and true.  So, hopefully the reader will be patient with me.  Maybe, I am too conservative and too strict and too narrow-minded and too not caring, but reader, please remember that another group in front of you may be thinking the same thing about you as you try to warn them and bring them into the kingdom.

So then, will Arminians be saved?  As true Calvinists, our simple answer is “Yes, if they are God’s elect.”  But, Scripture says more, much more, and warns us of false prophets and misleading claims to be saved.  Scripture exhorts us to distinguish the good from the bad “by their fruits”.  See Matthew 7:15-23 above.

Because Scripture does not specifically include Arminian doctrine in any of its passages concerning doctrine, I can only give my opinion as to whether or not Arminians are saved.  Yet, I do think it is a good question to tackle.  Scripture warns us to not be complacent about our salvation, to “enter through the narrow gate”, so we will tackle this difficult question.

I certainly think some (or maybe even many) Arminians will be saved.  There are some “Arminians” who may be taught but do not believe enough of the Arminian doctrine.  They may be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,” as stated in Ephesians 4: 14, but not “fall from the faith”.  I think I have been in this class in my travels between various Protestant churches where Arminianism was taught, and even today I struggle to avoid the subtle influences of Arminianism and stay true to Calvinism.  I struggle to avoid the temptation of seeking to be perfected by the flesh.  I struggle to hear with faith.  See Galatians 3:1-5.  Thus, I think that there are “Arminians” who believe or teach Arminianism from lack of understanding of Scripture but who will be refuted by knowledge of the truth and who will repent and come to the truth.

I think that there are some Arminians who who do not believe in the truth.  They stubbornly believe or teach Arminianism in “vain worship of God” and are not truly saved.  They cling to “free will” and their own feelings of justice above Scripture and stubbornly hold to their belief that their God would not unconditionally elect certain people to salvation.  They cling to their own image of God that fits their own sense of “free will” and justice.   To the God revealed in Scripture which is best summarized by the doctrine of Calvinism, they declare:  “That is not the God I serve!”

However, whether we are an Arminian or a Calvinist, Scripture does exhort us to not be complacent about salvation.

“AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS ARE SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?”  1 Peter 4:18.

For one example, for even us who claim to be a Calvinist and claim to be elect, we are told to add moral qualities to our lives so that we “make certain His calling and choosing you”.  2 Peter 1: 5-11.  This is consistent with verse 12 in today’s Scripture:  “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

We may claim that we love the Lord!  Will having a zeal for God be enough to be saved?  Paul states that for the Jews, zeal was not enough – “For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.  Romans 10: 2-3.

And, Jesus said:  “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven;  … Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord’ did we not prophecy 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.’”  See Matthew 7:21-23 above.

The point of the foregoing is to show that salvation is not easy.  We should not be complacent, certainly not as an Arminian, and not even as a Calvinist.  We should seek the truth and the soundest doctrine and follow all of Scripture with all of our mind, heart, and soul.

The Apostle Paul himself said:  “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;  but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14.

Scripture exhorts us to seek for wisdom as one would seek for silver or hidden treasure.  If we are to so seek for wisdom with all of our heart, how much more should we seek the true doctrine of salvation with all of our heart!!!  “If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;  Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God.”  Proverbs 2:4-5.

Scripture does not tell us to be casual about our faith or doctrine.  Scripture does not use words like “moderation” or “tolerance” or “love and acceptance” for describing how we should handle doctrine.  Just the opposite, Scripture pounds the table repeatedly that we should seek God, love and serve Him, “with all of our mind, heart, and soul”.  Deuteronomy 4:29:  “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

We should seek the soundest doctrine as we would seek hidden treasure.

Just because some Arminians are saved in spite of their doctrine does not mean that it is wise to follow Arminian doctrine.  Just because some students drop out of school and become successful does not mean that it is wise to drop out of school.  Just because Christ knocked Paul to the ground on his way to persecuting Christians does not mean that any of us should continue following false doctrine until Christ knocks us to the ground.  Just because we are given grace does not mean that we should continue in sin.  Romans 6:1-2.

There are very stern warnings in Scripture!!!

“Thus says the LORD, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.  For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.’”  Jeremiah 17: 5-7.

Arminians will deny being like this man who trusts in mankind, but the Arminian trusts in his “free will” to be the determining factor as to whether or not he will be saved.  He chooses Christ through his “free will”.  He keeps his faith through “his free will”.  He turns away from the LORD of Scripture who unconditionally elects and declares:  “That is not the God I serve!”

On the other hand, the Calvinist trusts in the LORD alone to handle all the points of salvation.  The Calvinist continually seeks the LORD and focuses on the LORD and His works.  Salvation is not a joint accomplishment between God and man to the Calvinist.  The Calvinist knows that if salvation was dependent even as little as 1% on himself, that he would not be saved.  He truly trusts in the LORD alone for his salvation and attributes his salvation to grace alone.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said:  “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.”  And again, THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  Hebrews 10:26-31.

I think this Scripture applies to Arminians who steadfastly continue to hang on to Arminianism despite receiving knowledge of the truth of Calvinism.  They hang on to the false doctrine that Jesus died for everyone (“Universal Atonement” – The Third Point of Arminianism) and they love to speak about the power in Christ’s blood.  But, Arminians realize that their doctrine forces them to conclude that Christ’s blood (as they claim, shed for everyone) by itself did not save, “purchase”, or “redeem” anyone, because they admit that most people are not saved.  Arminians claim that it is up to man to generate his own faith through his own free will in order to make Christ’s blood effective to save.  They claim that the only difference between the saved and the unsaved is not Christ’s blood, because everyone gets the blood, but rather the only difference is whether or not a certain individual will generate his own faith through his own free will to make the blood effective.  According to this logic of these Arminians, man’s faith, not Christ’s blood, is the determining factor as to whether or not one will be saved.

Because Arminians talk about the blood all the time, it is true that in a sense they are trampling it, not in the sense of being hateful to it but in the sense of treating it as ineffective by itself, like the description in Matthew 5: 13:  “… if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”

This Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture does not apply to the person who steadfastly rejects Christ.  That person did not receive the knowledge of truth as stated in Hebrews 10:26.  That person is not sanctified, so to speak, as is stated in Hebrews 10:29.  That person does not talk about the blood of Christ.  Rather, this Hebrews 10:26-31 Scripture speaks about those received or were exposed to knowledge of the truth and were sanctified so to speak but nevertheless denied the power of the blood and insulted the Spirit of grace.  Rather, this Scripture applies to Arminians who love to talk about Christ’s blood all the time, but who really treat Christ’s blood as ineffective by itself, that it does not actually “save”, “purchase”, nor “redeem” anyone, because they teach that most people are not saved and that it is up to man to generate his own faith through his own free will in order to make Christ’s blood effective to save.

Likewise, the Arminian can be compared to the one who insults the Spirit of Grace as is mentioned above in Hebrews 10:29.  Think of a situation in which your father took you out to a very expensive dinner and even left the tip in addition.  However, you did not think that the tip was sufficient so you add your $5 to the tip.  Wouldn’t your father be insulted that you thought that what he did was not enough?  Likewise, Arminians insult God by their doctrine that believes that the blood of Christ is not enough, they feel that they must add their own tip of faith.  The Calvinist thinks of faith as a gift of God;  the Arminian thinks that faith is their own gift to God which is necessary to secure salvation.

Love of Truth

Other Arminians may not go as far as to cling to the doctrine of Arminianism, but they do not think that doctrine nor even truth is that important.  They may seem righteous by claiming and even acting as if only love is important and that they only need the Bible, but they really don’t have a love of the truth.  They don’t diligently continue in their search for God with all their heart and soul.  They rest on their image of God and show no or little desire to search the Scriptures to learn more about God and His works.  In summary, they have not received a love of the truth.  I also do not think that this other class of Arminians are saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-13 may describe these Arminians:  “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.  And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness”.

John 16:13 describes the work of the Holy Spirit in the saved:  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;  …”  If these certain Arminians steadfastly continue to refuse or ignore the truth, then they demonstrate by their fruit that they do not have the Spirit of truth in them and that they are not saved.

Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon said:  “… I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.  It may seem a harsh sentiment;  but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both;  that he is `Alpha and Omega’ in the salvation of men.”  [Free Will – A Slave, A sermon delivered Sunday morning, December 2, 1855, at New Park Street Chapel, London, England.]

Conclusion

In conclusion, Scripture keeps coming back to the importance of truth.  We have seen that zeal is not enough.  Claiming Jesus as your Lord is not enough.  Doing miracles is not even enough.  There are those who worship God in vain who teach or believe in doctrines based on the ideas of man.  Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth.  The Spirit of truth guides the saved into all the truth.  On the other hand, there are those who “did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved”.

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