Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 5:5-7.

“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders;  and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:5-7.

—————-

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled;  and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”  Matthew 23:12.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 14:11.

“But He gives a greater grace.  Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”  James 4:6.

Which doctrine is humble and receives grace?

Other doctrine which is proud of what it contributes to distinguish itself worthy of salvation whether it be works or at least the will to choose Christ?

Or, Reformed Doctrine which is humble by first starting with its “Total Depravity” and then proclaims that God provides all that is needed for salvation from the beginning to the end?

God provides all that is needed for salvation 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.  This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

“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.

“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.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 5:1-4.

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God;  and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;  nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”  1 Peter 5:1-4. 

____________

Today’s Scripture is more general as to how an elder is to act:  like a good shepherd.  It leads us to meditate on how Christ is “The Good Shepherd” and is a good example for elders to follow.  

But, before we consider Scriptures on how Christ is our Good Shepherd is a good example for elders to follow, I will first include one Scripture with more specific characteristics of an elder.  

It is also good to pause and note that this first following Scripture does repeat the very important point in today’s Scripture that elders are must be “not fond of sordid gain”.  We have seen or heard about preachers who stand aloof from their congregation and are more concerned about how they can lord over those in their congregation to gain from their position.   

Other specific points in this first following Scripture are similar.  “God’s steward” in today’s Scripture is similar to the following Scripture stating that elders must act “according to the will of God”, and “with eagerness” is similar to stating that elders must be “loving what is good”.  

“For the overseer (a/k/a elder) must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”  Titus 1:7-9.

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15. 

When we consider that Jesus knows His own, it makes us consider the importance of elders knowing the sheep in their flock.  When we love our spouse, our children, and others, we want to know them as much as we can.  Consider the sharp contrast of a bad elder lording it over those allotted to their charge, not caring to know them and treating them as objects, with a good elder knowing our weaknesses in order to know how best to help us.  Like Christ, as our high priest, a good elder “… can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;”  Hebrews 5:2.

“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord;  You know that I love You.”  He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”  John 21:15.  Notice the tenderness of Jesus referring to the sheep as “lambs” and the amount of care involved in the word “tend”.  

In conclusion, the very popular Psalm 23 chapter, about the LORD being our Shepherd, can help us meditate on how an elder can act like a good shepherd to “tend” the sheep in his flock.  Here are just some examples.  An elder can know our wants (needs) and work with others in the church such as deacons to help provide at least some of the basic necessities.  An elder can provide spiritual rest to his sheep by his preaching and teaching.  An elder can also guide his sheep “in the paths of righteousness” by his preaching and teaching.  An elder can protect his sheep from heresy and from wandering away by the rod and staff of discipline.  Most importantly, an elder can preach and teach the true doctrine of salvation so that his sheep “will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”     

“The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm chapter 23.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 4:17-19.

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God;  and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”   1 Peter 4:17-19. 

—————–

“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. 

“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.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.”  1 Corinthians 9:24.

“Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;  for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”  2 Peter 1:10-11.

“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.

“After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”  Acts 14:21-22.

“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.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.  For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed;  for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”  1 Timothy 1:8-12.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 4:12-16.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;  but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”  1 Peter 4:12-16. 

—————-

“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 4:12-16.

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”  Romans 8:16-17.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great;  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:10-12.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  1 Peter 5:10-11.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 4:7-11.

“The end of all things is near;  therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.  Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  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 4:7-11.

—————-

The one great theme of Scripture is what God has done and is able to do, all of which is directed to giving glory to God.

Other doctrine focuses on man and vainly attempts to glorify man for man’s works or at least man’s wisdom and alleged free-will choice of Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and God’s works and glorifies God alone.

Question 1:  What is the chief and highest end of man?

Answer 1:  Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.  Westminster Larger Catechism.

The following Scriptures show (as emphasized by bold italic font) “… in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  Verse 11.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21.

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  Philippians 4:19-20.

“So the LORD said, “I have pardoned them according to your word;  but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.”  Numbers 14:20-21.

“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  1 Timothy 1:16-17.

“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom;  to Him be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  2 Timothy 4:18.

“Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”  Hebrews 13:20-21.

“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”  2 Peter 3:18.

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

“…  To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”  Revelation 1:5-6.

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

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

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

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:4.

“Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
3 Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.” Psalm 111:1-3

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36.

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

“Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.  For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.  In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;  but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”  1 Peter 4:1-6.

——————-

When we read in today’s Scripture that the gospel has “been preached even to those who are dead”, this means that the gospel has been preached to those who are dead in sin.

Other doctrine believes that man has the desire and the ability to repent and live godly lives.

But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes that Scripture teaches than man is dead in sin and has not the desire nor the ability to repent and live godly lives.

“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.

“10 as it is written,

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

We were hostile to God.  Romans 8:7 and Colossians 1:21.  We were in bondage to sin.  Romans 7:14-15. 

Reformed doctrine labels this point “Total Depravity”.

But, there is hope!

For God’s elect, God not only causes the gospel to be preached, so to speak, “even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men,” but also that “they may live in the spirit”, all done by God “according to the will of God.”  Verse 6.

Consider the following in the Canons of Dordt in the section titled 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.

Reformed Doctrine labels this point “Irresistible Grace”.

In summary, Reformed Doctrine accurately summarizes Scripture and teaches that salvation is a work of God alone, by grace alone, and that God handles all the points of salvation from beginning to 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.  This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

“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 1 Peter 3:18-22.

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;  in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.  Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”  1 Peter 3:18-22.

————-

Did Christ die for everyone?

Did Christ bring everyone to God?

Did Noah’s ark save everyone?

Does baptism save everyone?

No, to all these questions.  Today’s Scripture reminds us that only “a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.”

Likewise, Christ died for only God’s elect, but He died “for all” of God’s elect.  Thus, we should understand the phrase “For Christ also died for sins once for all” in that way.  

Reformed Doctrine label this point as “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

Consider the following from Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

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. 

“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.

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

“… 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.

This is a peculiar love, a special love just for His church. Just as a husband should not love and give himself up for all women, but only his own wife, Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for only His church, not for everyone in the world.

In Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:9, we see Christ praying for only those whom God gave Him, not for the world:  “I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me;  for they are Thine;”

Just like a shepherd does not protect all of the sheep in the world but only his own sheep, Christ laid down his life for only His sheep.  “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;  and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:14-15.

Just as we do not redeem every article in the pawn shop, but we only redeem our own property, Christ only redeemed His own people.  

“You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.” Psalm 77:15.

“And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods?  For You have established for Yourself Your people Israel as Your own people forever, and You, O Lord, have become their God.”  2 Samuel 7:23-24.

“This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”  John 6:39.

“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.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 3:13-17.

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.  AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;  and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”  1 Peter 3:13-17.

——————

Most of the time when we do good, people will not harm us.

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?”  Verse 13.

“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;”  Romans 13:3.

“10 For,

“THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS,
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD;
HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.” 1 Peter 3:10-11.

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

“But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed.  …”  Verse 14.  

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great;  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:10-12.

And, there is the further blessing when we are persecuted, people will closely observe us to see how we respond.  We will be given an opportunity to show God within us by our good behavior and good testimony.

And, there is hope!

God will give us grace to properly respond by good behavior and good testimony. 

“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”  Colossians 4:6.

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”  John 15:26-27.

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”  John 15:16.

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

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

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

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves;  so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.  But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;  and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say;  for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”  Matthew 10:16-20.

“But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.  The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour;  for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”  Mark 13:9-11. 

“When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say;  for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  Luke 12:11-12.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 3:10-12.

“10 For,

“THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS,
MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD;
HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
12 “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER,
BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” 1 Peter 3:10-12.

—————-

Other doctrine places its hope in its own wisdom and its own alleged free-will that it can do the good things in today’s Scripture.

But, Reformed Doctrine notes the prior verse “… for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 and places its hope in God’s call a/k/a election that it can do the good things in today’s Scripture.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled 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.

And so, in today’s Scripture, we note the blessings of life, love, and good days in verse 10 and the blessing of God’s attention to our prayers in verse 12.  

But, when we check out the Psalm chapter 34 source of today’s Scripture, we see so many more blessings!  

First, we see God’s deliverance from “all my fears” in Psalm 34:4 and “all their troubles” in Psalm 34:17;  and “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all” in Psalm 34:19.

Second, we see God’s provision such that “those who fear Him there is no want” in Psalm 34:9 and “they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing” in Psalm 34:10.  

Third, most importantly, we see “The Lord redeems the soul of His servants” in Psalm 34:22. 

“I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
3 O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

4 I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces will never be ashamed.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

8 O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the LORD, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life
And loves length of days that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.” Psalm chapter 34.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Peter 3:1-9.

” In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.  Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;  but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.  For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands;  just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman;  and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead;  for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”  1 Peter 3:1-9.

—————-

Today’s Scripture continues the theme of being kindhearted and humble in spirit.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:32.

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;  give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you;  bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Be of the same mind toward one another;  do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation.  Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all men.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”  Romans 12:10-18.

Other doctrine is proud, believing that it is worthy of its superior position by its own wisdom, its own will, and its own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine is humble, believing that it has received everything good from God by grace alone.  

“For who regards you as superior?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”  1 Corinthians 4:7.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9. 

“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.

“But He gives a greater grace.  Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”  James 4:6.

Consider the following in the Canons of Dordt in the section titled 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.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:22-24. 

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

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

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

“… you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.”  Verse 9.

Older Posts »

Categories