Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 27, 2020

“THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 10:5-10.

“For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.  But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows:  “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say?  “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”  Romans 10:5-10.

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Other doctrine attempts to flip the script from God’s Will and God’s election to man’s will and man’s works based on man’s faith and man’s confession.

Other doctrine is content to only quote the phrase (ignoring the context and the rest of the sentence):  “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved”.

But, Reformed Doctrine remembers God’s Will and God’s election of which Paul particularly pounded the table in the prior chapter.

Reformed Doctrine looks to the source of the phrase other doctrine quoted above and meditates on it:  “But what does it say?  “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”.

Reformed Doctrine also looks to the source of  “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”

Here is that source.

Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.  The LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.  And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today.  Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers;  if you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.

For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’  Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’  But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”  Deuteronomy 30:6-14.

God is the One Who circumcises our heart.

God is the One Who puts the word of salvation in our heart and our mouth.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt 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.

In summary, God is the One Who causes the gospel to be preached to us, His elect.  God is the One Who circumcises our heart so that we may believe and confess Christ as Lord.  In a nutshell, God is the One Who puts the word of salvation in our heart and our mouth.

Thus, let us not think that the righteousness based on faith is a righteousness based on man’s will (man’s faith and man’s confession).

Rather, let us believe that the righteousness based on faith is a righteousness based on God’s will and God’s work putting the word of salvation in our heart and our mouth.

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”  Isaiah 55:11.

“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.

“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.

“When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord;  and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”  Acts 13:48.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 10:1-4.

“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 10:1-4.

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“Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.  For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:24-26.

“Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father.  So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.  But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba!  Father!”  Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son;  and if a son, then an heir through God.”  Galatians 4:1-6.

“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.

“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.”  Romans 7:4.

The Apostle Paul recited his accomplishments under the Law, but counted them loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ, not seeking a righteousness of his own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith:  “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 3:4-9.

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;  and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”  Colossians 2:13-15.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,  by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”  Ephesians 2:13-16.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did:  sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1-4.

“But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe;  for there is no distinction;  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;”  Romans 3:21-24.

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.  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 2:19-21.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:27-34.

“Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;  FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.”  And just as Isaiah foretold,

“UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT US A POSTERITY,
WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.”

What shall we say then?  That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;  but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.  Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works.  They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written,

“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  Romans 9:27-34.

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“Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:3-5.

In other words, God provides us with the most precious Holy Spirit and God works miracles among us by hearing with faith.

Even though the Gentiles did not even pursue righteousness, they attained righteousness by faith through God’s grace.  Verse 30.

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  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 2:3-7.

But Israel, pursuing righteousness, did not attain it, because they did not pursue righteousness by faith, but rather, they pursued righteousness as though it were by works.  Verse 31-32.

“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.

And, this faith is not a vague faith or general spirituality;  it is a specific faith in Jesus Christ.

“BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  Verse 33.

“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 3:8-9.

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 the Canons of Dordt.

It is all grace.  We begun by the Spirit even when we were dead in sin through God’s grace.  We are given faith through God’s grace.  We attain righteousness by faith through God’s grace.  We receive all the spiritual blessings in Christ through God’s grace. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-7.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 24, 2020

“I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:25-26.

“25 As He says also in Hosea,

“I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’
AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’”
26 “AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU WERE NOT MY PEOPLE,’
THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”  Romans 9:25-26.

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“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:11-13.

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;  you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”  1 Peter 2:9-10.

“even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:24.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:22-24.

“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:22-24.

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God endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction in order to better make known His love upon His elect (“vessels of mercy” a/k/a the righteous).

God accomplishes making His love better known to His elect by sharply contrasting it with His wrath upon the others (“vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” a/k/a the wicked).

Consider that if God destroyed all the wicked before the righteous were even aware of the wicked, then the righteous would not know in comparison how much God loved them.

But, before we review examples of the sharp contrast comparison, let us remember Ephesians 2:3-7 in order to help prevent us from being proud and to also help us appreciate even more what God has done for us.

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  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 2:3-7.

We see many examples of this sharp contrast between what God has done for the righteous (His elect, “vessels of mercy”) and what God has done for the wicked (“vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” in the book of Proverbs.

“The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.”  Proverbs 3:33.

“The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger,
But He will reject the craving of the wicked.”  Proverbs 10:3.

“Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”  Proverbs 10:6.

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”  Proverbs 10:11.

“What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.”  Proverbs 10:24.

“When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”  Proverbs 10:25.

“The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.”  Proverbs 10:28.

“The righteous will never be shaken,
But the wicked will not dwell in the land.”  Proverbs 10:30.

“The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.”  Proverbs 10:32.

“The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.”  Proverbs 11:5.

“The righteous is delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.”  Proverbs 11:8.

“Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.”  Proverbs 11:21.

“The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”  Proverbs 11:23.

“A man will not be established by wickedness,
But the root of the righteous will not be moved.”  Proverbs 12:3.

“The thoughts of the righteous are just,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.”  Proverbs 12:5.

“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.”  Proverbs 12:6.

“The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
But the house of the righteous will stand.”  Proverbs 12:7.

“A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal,
But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”  Proverbs 12:10.

“The wicked man desires the booty of evil men,
But the root of the righteous yields fruit.”  Proverbs 12:12.

“An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
But the righteous will escape from trouble.”  Proverbs 12:13.

“No harm befalls the righteous,
But the wicked are filled with trouble.”  Proverbs 12:21.

“The righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  Proverbs 12:26.

“Great wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.” Proverbs 15:6.

“The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But He loves one who pursues righteousness.”  Proverbs 15:9.

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”  Proverbs 15:28.

“The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”  Proverbs 15:29.

“For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.”  Proverbs 24:16.

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.”  Proverbs 28:1.

“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern.”  Proverbs 29:7.

“When the wicked increase, transgression increases;
But the righteous will see their fall.”  Proverbs 29:16.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:19-21.

“You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?”  Romans 9:19-21.

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“You turn things around!
Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay,
That what is made would say to its maker, “He did not make me”;
Or what is formed say to him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?”  Isaiah 29:16.

“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”  Daniel 4:35.

“Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”  Psalm 2:1-6.

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

Article 18.  To those who murmur at the free grace of election, and just severity of reprobation, we answer with the apostle:  “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?”  Romans 9:20, and quote the language of our Savior:  “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own?”  Matthew 20:15.  And therefore with holy adoration of these mysteries, we exclaim in the words of the apostle:  “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counselor?  or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  For of him, and through him, and to him are all things:  to whom be glory for ever.  –  Amen.”  Canons of Dordt – FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

“The Rock!  His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4.

 

“4 For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

5 How great are Your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep.
6 A senseless man has no knowledge,
Nor does a stupid man understand this:
7 That when the wicked sprouted up like grass
And all who did iniquity flourished,
It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.
8 But You, O LORD, are on high forever.
9 For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For, behold, Your enemies will perish;
All who do iniquity will be scattered.”  Psalm 92:4-9.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:14-18.

“What shall we say then?  There is no injustice with God, is there?  May it never be!  For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGH THE WHOLE EARTH.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:14-18.

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Other doctrine trusts man and man’s alleged free-will to provide what it believes is necessary for salvation, namely man’s works or at least man’s alleged free-will choice of Christ.

In sharp contrast, Reformed Doctrine trusts God and God’s Will to provide what is necessary for salvation.  “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.”  Verses 15-16.

We tend to be focused on our own salvation and content for our assurance to be the end of it.

But, there is more in today’s Scripture than determining on Whom salvation depends.  “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGH THE WHOLE EARTH.”  Verse 17.

We see that God’s purpose and work are more than only our own salvation.  God uses other people, even hardening some, so that His name will be proclaimed through the whole earth.

Let us also look at the source of the mercy and compassion quote (“I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”).

Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”  And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you;  and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”  Exodus 33:18-19.

God’s glory is the goal of God’s mercy and compassion.  God’s glory is even the goal of God’s hardening some.  

“The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.”  Proverbs 16:4.

“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God;  whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies;  so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  1 Peter 4:11.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 9:1-13.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+9&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“But it is not as though the word of God has failed.  For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;  nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but:  “through Isaac your descendants will be named.”  That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.  For this is the word of promise:  “At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.”  And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;  for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.”  Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”  Romans 9:6-13.

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Salvation is determined by God’s election, “so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls”.  Verse 11.

“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.

Salvation is determined by God’s election, not by man’s works nor even by man’s alleged free-will choice of Christ, “so that no man may boast before God.”  1 Corinthians 1:29.

Salvation is determined by God’s election, “so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:31.

“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.

Salvation is determined by God’s election, “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:16.

Other doctrine clings to man’s alleged free-will and trusts and teaches man’s choice.

“Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”  Psalm 2:1-6.

But, Reformed boasts in God and trusts and teaches God’s choice.

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

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace;  …

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

“For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.”  2 Timothy 2:10.

“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.  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, a holy nation, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;  you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”  1 Peter 2:9-10.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 8:35-39.

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Just as it is written,

“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39.

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Sin is the thing that we should worry about the most as possibly separating us from the love of God.

“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.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”  Ephesians 2:1-3.

With other doctrine which teaches that God critically reviews our every step and either rewards us or punishes us according to our alleged free-will actions, it is more difficult to believe that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

But, with Reformed Doctrine which teaches us that God loved us, His elect, even when we were hopeless and dead in sin, and made us alive and seated us with Christ, it is more easy to believe that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-4.

“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.

“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 8:30.

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

Article 3.  By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.  But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.

Article 6.  But God, who is rich in mercy, according to his unchangeable purpose of election, does not wholly withdraw the Holy Spirit from his own people, even in their melancholy falls;  nor suffers them to proceed so far as to lose the grace of adoption, and forfeit the state of justification, or to commit sins unto death;  nor does he permit them to be totally deserted, and to plunge themselves into everlasting destruction.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man;  though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:6-10.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 8:33-34.

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?  God is the one who justifies;  who is the one who condemns?  Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. ”  Romans 8:33-34.

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If there were was any doubt as to whom the glorious promises from Romans 8:28 to the end of the chapter (and beyond) belong, verse 33 puts an end to any such doubt.  “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?  God is the one who justifies;”  Verse 33.  The glorious promises belong to God’s elect.

The glorious promise that “God causes all things to work together for good” belongs to God’s elect.  Romans 8:28.

The glorious promises of being conformed to the image of His Son, being called, being justified, and being glorified, belong to God’s elect.  Romans 8:29-30.

The glorious promise that “God is for us” belongs to God’s elect.  Romans 8:31.

The glorious promise that God “freely give us all things” belongs to God’s elect.  Romans 8:32.

The glorious promise that God justifies us (so that no charge nor condemnation that can stand against us) belongs to God’s elect.  Romans 8:33-34.

The glorious promise that Christ intercedes for us belongs to God’s elect.  Romans 8:34.

The glorious promise that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, belong to God’s elect.  Romans 8:35-39.

Consider what the Canons of Dordt state in the section FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

Therefore, “election is the fountain of every saving good”.   All the gifts of salvation belong to God’s elect.

Yet, other doctrine still hates God’s predestination, loves man’s alleged free-will, and hides and minimizes God’s election. 

But, Reformed Doctrine loves and cherishes and declares God’s predestination, knowing that it is man’s only hope for salvation.  Reformed Doctrine loves God’s most gracious will and purpose.  

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

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