Today’s devotion comes from Luke 4:1-13.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil.  And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.  And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”  And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.’”

And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory;  for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.”  Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;  for it is written,

‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’

and,

‘ON THEIR HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.”  Luke 4:1-13.

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Jesus answered every temptation with God’s Word.  So, it is important for us to know and wisely apply God’s Word to resist temptations.

Jesus knew not only the few words, “MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE”, but Jesus also knew the context of the verses that He quoted.  The context was very similar to the temptation that He faced.  “You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”  Deuteronomy 8:2-3.

Jesus knew that his experience of hunger in the wilderness was experienced by those before him, and yet God expected and commanded His people to still live by His words and obey His commandments.

Jesus knew not only the few words, “YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY”, but Jesus also knew the context of the verses that He quoted.  The context was similar to the temptation that He faced.  “Then it shall come about when the LORD your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.  You shall fear only the LORD your God;  and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.  You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.”  Deuteronomy 6:10-15.

Jesus knew that God warned His people to not be captivated by great and splendid cities and kingdoms so as to forget God and worship other gods.

Jesus knew not only the few words, “YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST”, but Jesus also knew the context of the verses that He quoted.  “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.”  Deuteronomy 6:16.

Jesus knew the event at Massah.  “Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.”  And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me?  Why do you test the Lord?”  But the people thirsted there for water;  and they grumbled against Moses and said, “Why, now, have you brought us up from Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”  …  He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”  Exodus 17:2-3 and 7.

Jesus knew that we are tempted to test God, because we wonder:  “Is the LORD among us, or not?”.  Rather than trusting God, we question God, question His favor and blessings on us, and question His Word.

And, Jesus also knew the severe result of testing God.

“8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
9 “When your fathers tested Me,
They tried Me, though they had seen My work.
10 “For forty years I loathed that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
11 “Therefore I swore in My anger,
Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”  Psalm 95:8-11.

In summary, Jesus knew that the temptations that He was experiencing was common to man but could be overcome.  “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man;  and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”  1 Corinthians 10:13.

Notice how the devil himself used God’s Word to tempt Jesus in verses 10 and 11, but it was only a partial quote to use it for His devious and wicked purposes.  So, it is not sufficient for us to hear a quote from God’s Word.  We should not yield to temptation just because the temptation is apparently justified by a quote from God’s Word.  Every preacher and teachers has a quote from Scripture to justify his teaching.

We need to know all of Scripture and to handle it accurately.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians 6:10-17.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 3:23-38.

“When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Hesli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.”  Luke 3:23-38.

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The ancestry of Jesus (the sons of God from Adam to Jesus) is exactly presented in today’s Scripture.  Why?  This devotion presents three points.

First, Jesus is both “the Son of God” and the “the Son of Man”.  Here is what the Heidelberg Catechism states: 

Q. 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?
A. For one who is very man, and perfectly righteous;  and yet more powerful than all creatures;  that is, one who is also very God.

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.

Second, God fulfilled His promises of blessing to Abraham and his seed (Christ).

“The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”  So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse;  for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.”  Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident;  for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”  However, the Law is not of faith;  on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.”  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.

Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations:  even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it.  Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.  He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.  What I am saying is this:  the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.  For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.”  Galatians 3:8-18.

Third, God so carefully preserved the line of His sons from Adam to Jesus that we can have confidence as His adopted sons that He will also preserve us and also fulfill all of His other promises of blessings to us.

“…  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 1:4-8.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.”  Galatians 3:26-29.

“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 4:4-7.

“So then let no one boast in men.  For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come;  all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”  1 Corinthians 3:21-23.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 3:18-22.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+3&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  Luke 3:21-22.

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Because God was well-pleased with His beloved Son Jesus Christ, God “summed up all things in Christ”.  God “made us alive together with Christ” “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.”  God provided us with eternal life in His Son Christ:  “He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  God sealed us “in Christ”.  God “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”.  Notice how the following Scriptures pound the table repeatedly that we are in Christ and that all these blessings are “in Christ”, abbreviated sometimes as “in Him” or “with Him”. 

“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.  In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.  In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”  Ephesians 1:3-14.

“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.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,  so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life;  he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  1 John 5:11-12.

We should never think of ourselves outside of Christ.

“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.”  Galatians 2:20.

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:3.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 3:10-17.

“And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”  And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none;  and he who has food is to do likewise.”  And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”  Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ, John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water;  but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals;  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn;  but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Luke 3:10-17.

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We see two points in today’s Scripture.

First, just thoughts or words of repentance are not sufficient.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”  Matthew 7:21.  We should take actions that show our repentance is sincere.  “Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance …”  Luke 3:8.  “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees;  so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Luke 3:9.

Second, good trees bear good fruit.  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits.”  Matthew 7:17-20.  Those who bear good fruit are God’s elect.  “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, …”  John 15:16.  “…  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”  Verse 16.

In conclusion, Jesus can easily distinguish the good trees from the bad trees, the wheat from the tares.  There are no close calls such as a person only being one good work short of salvation.  No one can fool Jesus.  There is no head-scratching or doubt in Jesus as to whom should be saved.  “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn;  but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Verse 17.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 3:1-9.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+3&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And he (John the Baptist) came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;  as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.
‘EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED,
AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW;
THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT,
AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH;
AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.  Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees;  so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Luke 3:3-9.

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The language of John the Baptist is shocking.  It is harsh and not what we hear in many churches today.

Many churches are more concerned about coddling their congregation:  “What can I do for you?“;  many churches are more concerned about pleasing their congregation, preaching on how they can live better lives, and praying for their every ache and pain, than they are concerned about their eternal destiny.

And yet, we see the need for man’s pride to be made low and the prophecy of accomplishment of it:  “EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW”.

Reformed Doctrine humbles man by its teaching of “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

When man is so humbled and emptied of its pride in its own works and will, it turns its focus from man to God, from what man has done to what God has done.  It leads to repentance and seeking of the salvation of God.

“Total Depravity” leads to the salvation of God:  from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Reformed creed Canons of Dordt.

“… AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’”  Verse 6.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:39-52.

“When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.  The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom;  and the grace of God was upon Him.

Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.  And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;  and as they were returning, after spending the full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem.  But His parents were unaware of it, but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey;  and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances.  When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him.  Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.  And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.  When they saw Him, they were astonished;  and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us this way?  Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.”  And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  But they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.  And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them;  and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”  Luke 2:39-52.

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“Jesus kept increasing in wisdom”.  God’s grace enabled Jesus to increase in wisdom.  Jesus sought to increase in wisdom by being “in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.”  Jesus kept increasing “in favor with God and men.”

Let us follow Jesus and seek to be wise.  Let us seek wisdom from God, wisdom personified, Jesus Christ.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3.

“My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
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.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:1-9.

“My son, do not forget my teaching,
But let your heart keep my commandments;
2 For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.”  Proverbs 3:1-4.

“13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.”  Proverbs 3:13-18.

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,  so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:25-38.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;  and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,

“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”  Luke 2:25-32.

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“For so the Lord has commanded us,

‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.’”

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 13:47-48.

Salvation does not only extend to the group of Jews (Israel), but salvation extends to both groups:  Jews and Gentiles.

Not all in both groups are saved, but God elected for salvation some in both groups:  Jews and Gentiles, “and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”

Reformed Doctrine teaches “Limited Atonement”, the “L” of “TULIP”, that is, Christ’s atonement was “limited” to God’s elect.  In other words, Christ only died for God’s elect;  Christ did not die for every person who ever lived.

But, Christ’s atonement was unlimited in the sense that Christ’s atonement purchased all the saving gifts needed for the salvation of the elect.  Thus, Christ effectually redeemed all of God’s elect which were “out of every people, tribe, nation, and language” as stated in the following article of the Canons of Dordt.

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 Canons of Dordt.

“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.  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.  And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near;  for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”  Ephesians 2:11-21.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:21-24.

“And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”  Luke 2:21-24.

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Today’s Scripture, “they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord …  and to offer a sacrifice”, reminds us of the following Scriptures.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2.

“and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”  Ephesians 4:23-24.

“trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:10.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Ephesians 5:15-17.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”  Galatians 5:16.

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;  for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:12-13.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:15-20.

“When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.  When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”  Luke 2:15-20.

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Mary and the shepherds are a good example for us on how we handle God’s Word.

Let us be like Mary and treasure all of God’s Words and ponder them in our heart.

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:2-3.

“My son, if you will receive my words                                                                                              And treasure my commandments within you,
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3 For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
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.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:1-9.

Let us also be like the shepherds and glorify and praise God.

“You who fear the LORD, praise Him;
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.”  Psalm 22:23.

“in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”  2 Chronicles 5:13-14.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 2:1-14.

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.  This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.  While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son;  and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid;  for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;  for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  Luke 2:1-14.

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Other doctrine praises man for who he is and what he has done.

But, Reformed Doctrine praises God for Who He is and what He has done.

Other doctrine seeks to give some glory to man.

But, Reformed Doctrine uses the words of today’s Scripture and states:  “Glory to God in the highest”.

Other doctrine thinks the good news is that man is good and can contribute good works or good will so that he can secure salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees that the good news of great joy is “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.

Other doctrine thinks that God is pleased with all men and gives peace and joy to all men.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees that there is only peace for those “whom He is pleased”, namely His elect for all of whom Christ died and reconciled to God.

Reformed Doctrine understands that Scripture clearly teaches that there is no peace for the wicked.

“20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
For it cannot be quiet,
And its waters toss up refuse and mud.
21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”  Isaiah 57:20-21.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”  Romans 1:18.

Reformed Doctrine further understands that in order for us to have peace with God, we need to be reconciled to God and saved from God’s wrath through Jesus Christ.

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

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 5:1-2 and 6-10.

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