Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 4:14-16.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:14-16.

————-

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:18.

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.  Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;  who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.  For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”  Hebrews 7:23-28.

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;  but He, 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 9:11-14. 

“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;  and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another;  and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:19-25.

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 4:12-13.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”  Hebrews 4:12-13.

———

First, let us sharply contrast preaching and teaching man’s stories and thoughts with preaching and teaching God’s Word.

“The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth.  What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD.  “Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”  Jeremiah 23:28-29.

When God’s Word is preached and taught, God uses His Word to effectively convict people of their sin and their need to repent and their need for a Savior.

“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.

Man has a stubborn and hard heart, and such a active and sharp two-edged sword is needed to cut through the heart.

But, there is hope!

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Verse 12.

“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.” Deuteronomy 30:6.

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 4:4-11.

“For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day:  “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;  and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”  Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,

“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.  So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”  Hebrews 4:4-11. 

———–

A believer rests from his works, because He trusts God’s promises, believing that God will accomplish all that is specifically needed for salvation and more generally for life.

First, let us look at the rest spoken by Joshua to which verse 8 refers.  This Scripture in the Book of Joshua first refers to the rest given by God in the concluding verses of chapter of 21 and then to how Joshua encourages some of the tribes of Israel to enter that rest by leaving the battlefield and going home to their tents.

“So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.  And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them;  the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand.  Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed;  all came to pass.

Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and said to them, “You have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have listened to my voice in all that I commanded you.  You have not forsaken your brothers these many days to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.  And now the LORD your God has given rest to your brothers, as He spoke to them;  therefore turn now and go to your tents, to the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan.”  Joshua 21:43-45 to Joshua 22:1-4.

Second, let us look how the Galatians and us today can be tempted to trust our works and continue working for our salvation rather than trust God, believing that God will accomplish what is specifically needed for salvation and more generally for life.

“This is the only thing I want to find out from you:  did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  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?

Even so ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.”  Galatians 3:2-6.

Third, remember, reader, how eager you were two days ago to accept the descriptions of true faith in the Reformed Confessions that were in devotion titled “So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”?  Now, let us review them again, but this time, let us review them to see how much true faith provides rest.   

Consider the following from Belgic Confession.

Article 22: Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him. For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  … 

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage; for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

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.

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 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.

Conclusion

“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised;  not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.” 1 Kings 8:56. 

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

“Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.”  Verse 11.

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 4:1-3.

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.  For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also;  but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.  For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,

“AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”

although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” Hebrews 4:1-3.

—————-

“And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— for He says,

“AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.”

Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”—”  2 Corinthians 6:1-2.

But, there are those who are satisfied just to hear the good news.  They do not want to commit to belief when they hear it. They say in their heart:  “That is interesting.  I will later think about it more, but I have more important and more immediate matters of concern.”

They are like the one in the Parable of the Sower.  “Hear then the parable of the sower.  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.  This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.”  Matthew 13:18-19.

In sharp contrast, there is the believer described in the Parable of Sower.  “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it;  who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”  Matthew 13:23.

How innocent it may seem to us to postpone belief!  But, consider how harshly Jesus’ views it!  

“And He said to another, “Follow Me.”  But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead;  but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”  Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord;  but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:59-62.

In sharp contrast, consider those believers who immediately commit to belief.  

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

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

“Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.”  Verse 1. 

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 21, 2021

“So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 3:7-19.

“7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME,
AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS,
9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED ME BY TESTING ME,
AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS.
10 “THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION,
AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART,
AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS’;
11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’”

12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said,

“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

16 For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:7-19.

—————–

In life, we face trials and troubles. So to speak, we too go through the wilderness. 

Are we going to trust God and enter the Promised Land?

Or, are we going to not believe and not be able to enter the Promised Land because of our unbelief?

What is true faith?

Consider the following from Belgic Confession.

Article 22: Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him. For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him. Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy: for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior. Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works. However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean, that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness. But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all his merits and so many holy works which he has done for us, and in our stead, is our Righteousness. And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with him in all his benefits, which, when become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 26. What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them; who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence) is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father; on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body; and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage; for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

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.

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 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.

Here is my summary with supporting verses.

First, faith is a gift of God. As the Canons of Dordt stated: “election is the fountain of every saving good; from which proceed faith”. And, as the Belgic Confession stated: “the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith”.

“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.

Second, faith believes the ability of God and the willingness of God to deliver us from our trials and troubles. As the Heidelberg Catechism stated: “He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.”

“‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,” Jeremiah 32:17.

“The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11.

Third, faith believes in God’s choice of us for salvation and all other good. As the Canons of Dordt stated: “election is the fountain of every saving good”.

“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.

“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.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32.

“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.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32.

Fourth, faith believes that God is faithful. As the Canons of Dordt stated: “God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.”

“Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” Joshua 21:45.

“22 The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.

“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.

“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 3:1-6.

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;  He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.  For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.  For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.  Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;  but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.”  Hebrews 3:1-6.

———–

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

“But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?  For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.  For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it.  For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.  But their minds were hardened;  for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.  But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;  but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:7-18.

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 2:9-18.

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

“I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN,
IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.”

And again,

“I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.”

And again,

“BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.”

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:9-18.

————–

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 16. Why must He be very man, and also perfectly righteous?
A. Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which hath sinned should likewise make satisfaction for sin; and one who is himself a sinner cannot satisfy for others.

Q. 17. Why must He in one person be also very God?
A. That He might, by the power of His Godhead, sustain in His human nature the burden of God’s wrath; and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.

Q. 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God and a real righteous man?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Q. 37. What dost thou understand by the words, “He suffered”?
A. That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, sustained in body and soul the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favor of God, righteousness and eternal life.

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Verses 14-18.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 17, 2021

“O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 2:5-8.

“5 For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. 6 But one has testified somewhere, saying,

“WHAT IS MAN, THAT YOU REMEMBER HIM?
OR THE SON OF MAN, THAT YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HIM?
7 “YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS;
YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR,
AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS;
8 YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”

For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” Hebrews 2:5-8.

——————-

The following Scripture answers the question why God so honored man. Thereby, Jesus, the Son of Man, was ultimately honored and empowered to save by partaking man’s human nature in order to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:14-17.

Even in Psalm chapter 8, which is the source of the quote of today’s Scripture, we see that the purpose of honoring man was to honor both God the Father and God the Son (Jesus).

Notice the first and last verse of the following Psalm chapter 8. God the Father is honored as “O LORD” and God the Son (Jesus) is honored as “our Lord”. “How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth
,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

9 O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
” Psalm chapter 8.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 16, 2021

“how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 2:1-4.

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.  For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”  Hebrews 2:1-4.

————

Yet, many people neglect the true doctrine of salvation.

They prefer to pay closer attention to other things like the church’s social programs and more generally what they like and what they think is important.

They dismiss doctrine as dry and divisive. 

But, today’s Scripture pounds the table on the importance of the doctrine of salvation.

“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.”  Verse 1.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Verse 2.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

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

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”  Hebrews 6:4-6.

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A RIRE 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.

Finally, consider Jesus’ parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14 of which I will only quote the concluding verses.

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

Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth.

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

Jesus also stated in John 4:23-24:  “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

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

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.  For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” Romans 10:1-3.

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

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

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

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

Doctrine is simply teachings. 

Many churches portray doctrine as unnecessary, divisive, or worse.  They simply rest on their claim that they believe the Bible and teach it.

But, doctrine is simply teachings.  Therefore, doctrine cannot be avoided unless a preacher or teacher just quotes Scripture without making any summary or other comment which just does not happen.

So, doctrine can not be avoided.  We can only have false doctrine or true doctrine.

True doctrine accurately summarizes Scripture.  False doctrine does not accurately summarize Scripture.

True Doctrine teaches that salvation is a work of God alone.

Reformed Doctrine is true doctrine.  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 “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” through “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.

Conclusion

Scripture emphasizes the importance of truth.  Zeal is not enough.  Claiming Jesus as your Lord is not enough.  Doing miracles is not enough.  Those who teach or believe in doctrines based on the ideas of man worship God in vain.

Those who worship God must worship God in truth.

Scripture exhorts us to seek for wisdom as one would seek for silver or hidden treasure.  

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

Likewise, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a hidden treasure.

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

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

If we are to “strive to enter through the narrow door” and seek wisdom and the kingdom of heaven as one would search for hidden treasure with all of our heart, how much more should we seek the one true doctrine of salvation with all of our heart!!!

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

Today’s devotion comes from Hebrews 1:13-14.

“13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,

“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I MAKE YOR ENEMIES
A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:13-14.

——————-

“19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!

21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!” Psalm 103:19-22.

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Verse 14.

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.” Psalm 34:7.

“11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11.

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