Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 24, 2019

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 10:10.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;  I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10.

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We eagerly meditate with joy on some of the different ways that Christ has come so that we “may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Above all, Christ gives us eternal life.

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:40.

“even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.”  John 17:2.

Christ gives us His Spirit which gives us spiritual life even while we are on earth waiting for eternal life in heaven.

“It is the Spirit who gives life;  the flesh profits nothing;  the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”  John 6:63.

“If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”  Romans 8:10.

“For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.  For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.  The Law came in so that the transgression would increase;  but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Romans 5:17-21.

Christ’s Spirit gives life to our mortal bodies.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11.

Christ’s Spirit gives us life, liberty, and glory.  See 2 Corinthians chapter 3 of which I only quote the following 2 verses.

“…  the Spirit gives life.”  2 Corinthians 3:6.

“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 3:17-18.

Christ gives us life expressed in the glory and unity and love between members of His body, the true church.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”  John 17:22-23.

Christ gives us life filled with His love, so that “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”. 

“For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:19-21.

Psalm chapter 32 is a fitting summary and conclusion to cause us to meditate on the detail of the blessings of life that Christ as the Good Shepherd gives us.

“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 John 10:1-9.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.  But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.  To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.  A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”  This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door;  if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”  John 10:1-9.

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Other doctrine is riveted to one thing in today’s Scripture.  Man must use his wisdom and will to find that door and enter through it.  In other words, salvation is dependent on man using his wisdom and skill to enter salvation through Jesus.  “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;  no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees two things in today’s Scripture.  Yes, Jesus is the door to salvation.  But, we are also God’s sheep who will follow him.  “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  Verses 3-4.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”  John 10:27-28.

Reformed Doctrine teaches that we are God’s sheep by God’s “Unconditional Election”.  God chooses us out of all the people to be His people, His sheep.  

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

“For You have separated them from all the peoples of the earth as Your inheritance, as You spoke through Moses Your servant, when You brought our fathers forth from Egypt, O Lord God.”  1 Kings 8:53.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore.  Amen.”   Galatians 1:3-5.

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

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

Q. 1.  What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A.  That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;  who, with His precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil;  and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;  yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.  Heidelberg Catechism.

And, Reformed Doctrine teaches us that as God’s sheep, we follow Jesus and enter salvation by God’s “Irresistible Grace”.  

God irresistibly draws His elect to Jesus.

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”  John 6:37.

“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.

In summary, Reformed Doctrine teaches that God does all that is needed for salvation from beginning to end:  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, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt. 

Today’s devotion comes from John 9:13-41.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+9&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Jesus heard that they had put him out, and finding him, He said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”  Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”  And he said, “Lord, I believe.”  And he worshiped Him.  And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”  Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin;  but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”  John 9:35-41.

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Jesus is talking about spiritual blindness and spiritual sight.

There are those who are proud and think they can see through their own flesh, namely through their own goodness, their own wisdom, their own will, and their works.  But, they are spiritually blind.

“But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.  This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke:  “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?  AND TO WHOM HAS THE ARM OF THE LORD BEEN REVEALED?”  For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, “HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.”  John 12:37-40.

And, there are those who are humble and think they are spiritually blind.  They recognize and confess their own sin.  But, they seek and see Jesus Who enlightens them and gives them spiritual sight.

“He answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”  Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him, and He is the one who is talking with you.”  And he said, “Lord, I believe.”  And he worshiped Him.”  Verses 36-38.

“And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.  He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me.  I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”  John 12:44-46.

Today’s devotion comes from John 9:1-12.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+9&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents;  but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.  We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day;  night is coming when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”  When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent).  So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.”  John 9:1-7.

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In John chapter 9, we see two works of God displayed in the blind man.  In today’s Scripture, we see the work of God displayed in healing the blind man by giving him sight.  Later in the chapter, we will see the work of God displayed in causing the man to believe in Jesus.  See John 9:35-39.

No one likes to go through troubles.  But, today’s Scripture presents hope that when we experience troubles, it may be so that “the works of God might be displayed” in us.

I am reluctant to give personal examples, but I will give one even though my trouble is nothing compared to the severity of blindness.  I believe my trouble provides a more common example of the many minor troubles that we suffer, and yet we still experience God’s fatherly care, often through Scripture and devotions that encourage us and build our faith.  Yesterday, around 1:00 a.m., I badly stubbed my foot when I spun around the corner to come out of the bathroom.  It hurt so bad that I thought I may have broken a bone or at least sprained my foot or cut it.  Why?  What good could come from it?!   

But, later that very same day, along with other family members, I received the following Spurgeon devotion from one of my sons.

Care of Our Feet 

He will keep the feet of his saints. (1 Samuel 2:9) 

The way is slippery and our feet are feeble, but the Lord will keep our feet. If we give ourselves up by obedient faith to be His holy ones, He will Himself be our guardian. Not only will He charge His angels to keep us, but He Himself will preserve our goings.
He will keep our feet from falling so that we do not defile our garments, wound our souls, and cause the enemy to blaspheme.
He will keep our feet from wandering so that we do not go into paths of error, or ways of folly, or courses of the world’s custom.
He will keep our feet from swelling through weariness, or blistering because of the roughness and length of the way.
He will keep our feet from wounding: our shoes shall be iron and brass so that even though we tread on the edge of the sword, or on deadly serpents, we shall not bleed or be poisoned.
He will also pluck our feet out of the net. We shall not be entangled by the deceit of our malicious and crafty foes.
With such a promise as this, let us run without weariness and walk without fear. He who keeps our feet will do it effectually.

Then, later that day, I received the following comment to this Spurgeon from another son:  “More important then the Lord keep in us from physical pain is him keeping our feet on the right path. He does not just elect us for salvation, and then lets us go on our own way, no,  he make sure we stay on the right path and sanctifies us.”

And then when we review the context of the Spurgeon quote of Scripture, namely the verse and first few verses of the chapter, we discover with delight the following Scriptures.

“He keeps the feet of His godly ones,
But the wicked ones are silenced in darkness;
For not by might shall a man prevail.”  1 Samuel 2:9.

“Then Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
2 “There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.
3 “Boast no more so very proudly,
Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth;
For the LORD is a God of knowledge,
And with Him actions are weighed.”  1 Samuel 2:1-3.

Other doctrine displays the the works of man.

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  John 6:28.

But, Reformed Doctrine displays the works of God.    

“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:29.

Reformed Doctrine displays the works of God from beginning to end:  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, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

“3 And they *sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and marvelous are Your works,
O Lord God, the Almighty;
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of the nations!
4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU,
FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”  Revelation 15:3-4.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 19, 2019

“My glory I will not give to another.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 8:48-59.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”  Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon;  but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.  But I do not seek My glory;  there is One who seeks and judges.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”  John 8:48-51.

———————

Jesus had every reason to be very angry and defensive when He was accused of having a demon.  Moreover, Jesus had every reason to seek glory for Himself.  But, we notice that Jesus’ focus was honoring His father.  Jesus simply denied having a demon but proceeded to emphasize:  “I honor My Father” and “I do not seek My glory”.

The meaning of the last part of verse 50 (“there is One who seeks and judges.”) is that God seeks glory for Himself and also judges whether we seek our own glory or God’s glory.

The meaning of verse 51 (“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”), considering that it follows immediately after verse 50, is that if we seek God’s glory rather than our own glory, then we will have eternal life.

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”  John 5:44.

If Christ Himself did not seek His own glory, then how much more should we not seek our own glory!

“I am the LORD, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.”  Isaiah 42:8.

“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.”  Isaiah 48:11.

“10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD favors those who fear Him,
Those who wait for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 147:10-11.

“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.

“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.

We must give all glory to God especially for our salvation.  

And yet, other doctrine is quite content to seek its own glory, boasting of its own goodness, its own wisdom, its own will, and its own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks God’s glory, boasting in God for providing all that is needed for salvation from beginning to end:  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, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

Other doctrine focuses on man and man’s alleged free-will choice of Christ and gives man at least some credit and glory for his salvation.

Consider what one church states in part in “What We Believe”.

“IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.  …”  (Emphasis added.)

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God as the cause of why we believe and gives God all the credit and glory for our faith and our salvation.

Consider what the Canons of Dordt states in part in its THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

“Article 14.  Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or rejected at his pleasure;  but because it is in reality conferred, breathed, and infused into him;  or even because God bestows the power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the exercise of his own free will, consent to the terms of that salvation, and actually believe in Christ;  but because he who works in man both to will and to do, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will to believe, and the act of believing also.”

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory;  but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  John 7:18.

Today’s devotion comes from John 8:39-47.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  Why do you not understand what I am saying?  It is because you cannot hear My word.  You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him.  Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.  Which one of you convicts Me of sin?  If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears the words of God;  for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”  John 8:42-47.

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“We are from God;  he who knows God listens to us;  he who is not from God does not listen to us.  …”  1 John 4:6.

We should not be surprised when people do not listen to us.  But, we blame ourselves.

We think we must change the message (the gospel) and the worship of God to make it be more “seeker sensitive”, or in other words, more worldly.

But, we should not change the message (the gospel) and the worship of God.  But, rather, we should understand that God will use it to either save or to hold those accountable who do not believe.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16.

“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates Me hates My Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin;  but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.  But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’”  John 15:22-25.

“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;”  Romans 3:19.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 17, 2019

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 8:31-38.

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;  and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone;  how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever;  the son does remain forever.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  I know that you are Abraham’s descendants;  yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.  I speak the things which I have seen with My Father;  therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”  John 8:31-38.

——————–

There are those today who are like the Jews in today’s Scripture who appear to believe in Jesus.  They may attend church for a while and even appear devoted and zealous for a while, but they fall away.  They are like the slave in verse 35 who does not remain in the house forever.

But, the elect have been made free from sin by by Jesus and are like the son in verse 35 who does remain in the house forever.

“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 23:6.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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 1:2-8.

“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 2:4-8.

“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”  Romans 6:17-18.

“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:22-23.

Today’s devotion comes from John 8:21-30.  Here is a link to this Scripture –https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verse.

“And He who sent Me is with Me;  He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”  John 8:29.

——————-

Only “in Christ” can we be pleasing to God.

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water;  and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17.

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;  listen to Him!”  Matthew 17:5.

“and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:8.

“For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;  for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Romans 8:5-8.

Only by God’s action can we be in Christ.

“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, after sending us to Christ, God has not left us alone.  God has given us His Spirit, so we do the things that are pleasing to Him.

“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.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”  Ephesians 5:15-21.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;  for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”  Galatians 5:16-18.

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

God places us in Christ’s body (the one true invisible church) and positions us with gifts and roles to cause us to grow and help others grow.  

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:13.

“But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”  1 Corinthians 12:18.

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  …

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:4-7 and 11-13.

God is well-pleased in Christ, and God is well-pleased that we are in Christ.

“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;  and a voice came out of the heavens:  “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  Mark 1:9-11.

Scripture often refers to Christians as “in Christ”.  And, it should make sense from this Scripture that because God is well-pleased in Christ, He is also well-pleased that we are in Christ.

Other doctrine clings to man’s alleged free-will and independence. 

But, Reformed Doctrine clings to God’s will that we are in Christ.

Other doctrine strives to work for Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine thrives on God’s work for us. 

Here are a few Scriptures about our being in Christ and our blessings resulting therefrom.

“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.

“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,”  Ephesians 1:3.

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 1:7-8.

“…  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,”  Ephesians 1:10-11.

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 1:13-14.

“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.

“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.

You are the salt of the earth;  but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”  Matthew 5:13.

Salt is sprinkled here and there and penetrates and preserves and gives flavor.  We do not keep salt in the container.

You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;  nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  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 5:14-16.

We also do not put light under the basket, but on a lampstand, so the light may go far and wide and penetrate darkness.

In conclusion, too often, we only view ourselves in one church or another church.  But, God views us “in Christ”.  According to God’s will, some stay in one church just about their whole life.  But, also according to God’s will, God moves others around to different churches.  God places us in the body of Christ (the one true invisible church) exactly were He wants to do so.  The Holy Spirit guides us into all the truth.  We are used by God as salt and light which penetrates and enlightens and preserves and gives the flavor and light of Christ.

Today’s devotion comes from John 8:12-20.

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world;  he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself;  Your testimony is not true.”  Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going;  but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.  You judge according to the flesh;  I am not judging anyone.  But even if I do judge, My judgment is true;  for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.  Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.  I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”  So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?”  Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father;  if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”  These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple;  and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.”  John 8:12-20.

—————–

“But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John;  for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish—the very works that I do—testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me.

And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me.  You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.  You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;  it is these that testify about Me;  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.  I do not receive glory from men;  but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.  I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me;  if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.  How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”  John 5:36-44.

“18 “BEHOLD, MY SERVANT WHOM I HAVE CHOSEN;
MY BELOVED IN WHOM MY SOUL IS WELL-PLEASED;
I WILL PUT MY SPIRIT UPON HIM,
AND HE SHALL PROCLAIM JUSTICE TO THE GENTILES.
19 “HE WILL NOT QUARREL, NOR CRY OUT;
NOR WILL ANYONE HEAR HIS VOICE IN THE STREETS.
20 “A BATTERED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK OFF,
AND A SMOLDERING WICK HE WILL NOT OUT OUT,
UNTIL HE LEADS JUSTICE TO VICTORY.
21 “AND IN HIS NAME THE GENTILES WILL HOPE.”  Matthew 12:18-21.

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water;  and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17.

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;  listen to Him!”  Matthew 17:5.

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