Today’s devotion comes from John 20:30-31.

“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;  and that believing you may have life in His name.”  John 20:30-31.

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Many use Scriptures for the purpose of practical tips on how to live your life.

Others use Scriptures for the purpose of appearance, looking religious and superior to others by the practice of reading Scriptures and attending church and Bible study.

But, what does today’s Scripture state the purpose of Scriptures is?

“but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;  and that believing you may have life in His name.”  Verse 31.

Article 7:  The sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, to be the only rule of faith.

We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe, unto salvation …”  Belgic Confession. 

Q5:  What do the scriptures principally teach?

A5:  The scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.  Westminster Larger Catechism.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;  it is these that testify about Me;  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40.

“and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 3:15.

Today’s devotion comes from John 20:24-29.

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  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.”

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them.  Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands;  and reach here your hand and put it into My side;  and do not be unbelieving, but believing.”  Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”  John 20:24-29.

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By His question, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?” and his follow-up statement, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”, Jesus taught that faith is not based on what we see.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;  for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Romans 8:24-25.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.”  Hebrews 11:1-2.

“Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb;  yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.  Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Romans 4:19-22.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6.

“Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.”  Habakkuk 2:4.

“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.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;  as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  Romans 1:16-17.

“Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;  for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.  However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  Galatians 3:11-12.

“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”  Hebrews 10:35-39.

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;  and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:6-9.

Today’s devotion comes from John 20:19-23.

“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.”  And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side.  The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you;  as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them;  if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”  John 20:19-23.

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“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  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 14:26-27.

“… “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Verse 22.

“… “Peace be with you.”  Verse 19.

“So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you;  …”  Verse 21.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”  Galatians 3:13-14.

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:  …  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;  …”  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

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 of Canons of Dordt.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand;  and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”  Romans 5:1-2.

“and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  Romans 5:5.

“For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.”  Galatians 5:5.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,”  1 Corinthians 2:12.

Today’s devotion comes from John 20:11-18.

“But Mary was standing outside the tomb weeping;  and so, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb;  and she *saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.  And they *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”  She *said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”  When she had said this, she turned around and *saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus *said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  Supposing Him to be the gardener, she *said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  Jesus *said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and *said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).  Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;  but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene *came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and that He had said these things to her.”  John 20:11-18.

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Jesus did not only rise just a little, so to speak, from the prone position of being dead to the standing position of being alive.

Jesus kept rising, ascending, to the heavenly position of being with God the Father in heaven.

That is why Jesus said:  “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father”.  Jesus did not say it to be cold to Mary.  Jesus loved Mary and His disciples, but Jesus did not want to be stopped from rising.  It was far more important for Jesus to ascend to God the Father and complete His mission.  Jesus did not want to lead Mary to believe that He would be physically on earth with her and others much longer (only 40 days).

For us too, there is more involved when we were made alive after being dead in our transgressions.  We also did not rise just a little.  We too were “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ”.

“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.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:2-3.

Today’s devotion comes from John 20:1-10.

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.  So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”  So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb.  The two were running together;  and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;  and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there;  but he did not go in.  And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb;  and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.  So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.  For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  So the disciples went away again to their own homes.”  John 20:1-10.

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When we do not understand Scripture, we can at least remember the Scripture (as compared to dismissing it altogether from our thought).

We can continue to meditate on the difficult to understand Scripture.

We can also compare the Scripture that is difficult to understand with other Scriptures.

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

The disciples could have thought:  “Is the evidence of “the linen wrappings lying there” and the face-cloth “rolled up in a place by itself” more consistent with Jesus’ resurrection or Mary’s initial belief (“They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb”)?

With just a little thought, the disciples could have thought that it is not believable that people who would be inclined to take away Jesus’ body, probably in a rush at night, would take the time to first unwrap the body in the tomb and leave all the linen wrappings there (including neatly roll up the face cloth), rather than just take away it all with the linen wrappings remaining wrapped around the body.

Who would want to face the punishment of breaking the seal on stone the tomb?!  Who would want to linger in the tomb?!  Who would prefer to touch a dead body over touching linen wrappings?!  Who would want to remove a spice barrier to the stench of a dead body?!  

They disciples could also have remembered the resurrection of Lazarus.  If Jesus could resurrect Lazarus, then it is possible that God could raise Jesus.  Moreover, the disciples could remember how Lazarus’ linen wrappings were removed.  “The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.  Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  John 11:44.

The disciples could have concluded after all of this thought and meditation:  “Maybe, Jesus is risen.”

When we do not understand Scripture, we can also trust the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;  for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak;  and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  John 16:13.

In conclusion, none of this is critical of the disciples nor impinges on the sovereignty of God.  God forbid!  Rather, all of this is intended to teach us to remember Scripture, compare Scriptures, meditate on Scriptures, and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth. 

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 15, 2019

“His sovereignty rules over all.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:38-42.

“After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus;  and Pilate granted permission.  So he came and took away His body.  Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.  So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.  Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.”  John 19:38-42.

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Preparation is the theme of today’s devotion.  God prepared Jesus’ burial by using Joseph to obtain Jesus’ body from Pilate, Nicodemus to bring spices and help bury Jesus, and “the Jewish day of preparation” to make sure everything was done on time.

Other doctrine only see chance encounters and actions.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees God’s sovereign hand preparing everything.

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.  Heidelberg Catechism.

Article 13:  Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment:  …”  Belgic Confession.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.

“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”  Hebrews 11:3.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;  if it were not so, I would have told you;  for I go to prepare a place for you.”  John 14:2.

“…  ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Matthew 25:34.

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:31-37.

“Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him;  but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true;  and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.  For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.”  And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”  John 19:31-37.

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“NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” leads us to meditate that Jesus was without blemish, the perfect Passover sacrifice.

Regarding the Passover meal, Exodus 12:46 commands:  “It is to be eaten in a single house;  you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.”

“…  For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”  1 Corinthians 5:7.

“For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”  Hebrews 9:13-14.

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;  but He (Jesus), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:11-14.

“THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.” leads us to meditate that God gives grace SO THAT we look to Christ and mourn about our sins and receive forgiveness.  

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced;  and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”  Zechariah 12:10.

Other doctrine teaches that we first repent out of our own wisdom and our own alleged free-will, and then based on our wisdom and our will to repent, God grants forgiveness.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God first gives us grace and then we repent out of God’s grace.  Simply, God grants repentance based on His wisdom and His will.  

Other doctrine praises man for his wisdom and his will to repent.

But, Reformed Doctrine glorifies God for giving grace and granting repentance.

“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Acts 5:31.

“When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:18.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 13, 2019

“He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people”

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:16-30.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+19&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic;  now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.  So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”;  this was to fulfill the Scripture:  “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.”  Therefore the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”  From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar full of sour wine was standing there;  so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.  Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  John 19:23-30.

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It is painful and make us cringe just to read this account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

But, we are inspired by Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene who stood by the cross.

We too can keep our eyes on Jesus:  “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2.

And, the words “all things had already been accomplished” and “It is finished!” give us hope and lead us to meditate what was accomplished, what was finished, by Jesus on the cross.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,”  Luke 1:8.

In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:7-8.

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;  but He (Jesus), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:11-14.

“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.

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

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:1-15.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+19&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;  and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.  Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”  Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.  Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”  So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!”  Pilate *said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”  The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;  and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?”  But Jesus gave him no answer.  So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me?  Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”  Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above;  for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”  John 19:1-11.

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Other doctrine laments man’s alleged free-will and chance. 

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices in God’s will and sovereignty.  

Article 13:  Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment:  nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed.  For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly.  And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of;  but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits.  This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father;  who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust;  being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us.  And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.  Belgic Confession.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;  but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear;  you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:28-31.

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:  …   SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

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

Today’s devotion comes from John 18:28-40.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+18&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews;  but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?”  Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king.  For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:36-37.

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Other doctrine is dismayed and defeated when it sees the world become more and more wicked, because it teaches that Christ’s kingdom is of this world.

But, Reformed Doctrine understands the meaning of Christ’s statement:  “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Christ’s kingdom consists of God’s elect, and Christ’s actions for His kingdom are for the good of God’s elect.  

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:13-14.

“… 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.

Q45:  How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

A45:  Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them;  in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good;  and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.  Westminster Larger Catechism.

“Then He left the crowds and went into the house.  And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world;  and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom;  and the tares are the sons of the evil one;  and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age;  and the reapers are angels.  So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 13:36-43.

“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.

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

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