Today’s devotion comes from Romans 16:17-20.

“Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.  For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites;  and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.  For the report of your obedience has reached to all;  therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”  Romans 16:17-20.

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After listing a long list of saints who should be greeted, Paul sharply turns the attention to “those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned”.  Paul instructs the brethren to “turn away from them”.  Verse 17.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”  Matthew 7:15.

Using Paul’s language, “by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.”  Verse 18.

“Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.”  Matthew 24:11.

But, there is hope!

We have Scriptures!  

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

“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.”  Hebrews 4:12.

We have the Creeds!

They help us to identify “those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned”.

Rev. Ronald Hanko, in his article “A Plea for Creeds”, states the importance of doctrine and creeds.  His article in full can be read at the following link – http://www.prca.org/articles/plea_for_creeds.html

Here is a brief quote from the article explaining what happens when a denomination or church dismisses or minimizes the importance of doctrine:  ” …  by cutting herself off from the church of past, the church today says in effect that every generation must start all over in its searching of the Scriptures and pursuit of the truth.  Thus she sets herself an impossible task – a task that is either set aside as too great so that there is little knowledge of the truth in the church, or which leaves her no time for other things.”

We have Jesus, the Good Shepherd!

“I am the good shepherd;  the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.  He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father;  and I lay down My life for the sheep.”  John 10:11-15.

“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.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 16:1-16.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+16&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea;  that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you;  for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles;  also greet the church that is in their house.  Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.  Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.”  Romans 16:1-6.

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When we read these Scriptures, we should not think that we should equally greet everyone.  We notice the reason why each person should be greeted.

Here are some more examples in Scripture.

“Receive him then in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;  because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was deficient in your service to me.”  Philippians 2:29-30.

“I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part.  For they have refreshed my spirit and yours.  Therefore acknowledge such men.”  1 Corinthians 16:17-18.

Likewise, love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;”  1 Corinthians 13:6.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers;  for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”  2 Corinthians 6:14-15.

We do not have fellowship with everyone.  Our fellowship is with and centered on our fellowship with God the Father and God the Son Jesus Christ, and those who would have fellowship with us must have fellowship with God the Father and God the Son Jesus Christ.

“what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us;  and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”  1 John 1:3.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 15:20-33.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+15&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;  so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company.  Now the God of peace be with you all.  Amen.”  Romans 15:20-33.

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Generally, it is good to pray for others.  Each of us have many different needs.

But, we noticed how Paul singled out his ministry needs:  “that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints;”.  Verse 31.

And yet, how often do we specifically pray for the ministry needs of others?!

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains;  that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”  Ephesians 6:18.

And, we should not reserve our prayers for only the ministry needs of our ministers and missionaries.

We are exhorted to pray “for all the saints”, and each of us, “the saints”, has her or his own ministry and her or his own ministry needs.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;  to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-11.

“Brethren, pray for us.”  1 Thessalonians 5:25.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 25, 2020

“what Christ has accomplished”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 15:14-19.

“And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.  But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.  Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God.  For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit;  so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”  Romans 15:14-19.

———————

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation …”  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.

What did Christ accomplish?

What is the gospel of Christ?

Did Christ only accomplish providing a door of salvation such that man could use his own alleged free-will to choose for himself whether or not to walk through it?

Is the gospel of Christ that God loves everybody and Christ died for everybody and that what determines whether or not man will be saved is something that man contributes such as man’s works or at least man’s will?

The Broad Way of Most Doctrine Compared to the Narrow Way of Reformed Doctrine

“Enter through the narrow gate;  for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

Most doctrine is like a broad bridge open to everyone, but it only goes half-way across the river.  Such doctrine teaches that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and God wants to save everyone, but it is up to man to contribute something worthy of salvation whether it be works or at least alleged free-will choice of Christ.  The only difference between the unsaved and saved is that the saved does works or maybe as little as uses his alleged free-will choice of Christ to, so to speak, jump from the end of the bridge, across the river, to the shore of salvation.  Most doctrine believes that everyone has an equal opportunity to be saved, so the bridge is broad in that sense, but that Christ’s death completely saved no one in particular.  Only those who do sufficient works or who take a sufficient “free will leap of faith” to the shore of salvation will be saved.  Thus, the bridge is wide, open to everyone, but it only goes halfway across the stream.  Accordingly, the saved have reason to boast for contributing to their own salvation and showing themselves worthy of salvation.

In sharp contrast to most doctrine, Reformed Doctrine is like a narrow bridge only open to God’s elect, but the narrow bridge goes all the way across the river to the shore of salvation. Reformed Doctrine teaches that God only loves His elect and only wants to save them and that Christ died only for the elect.  In summary, God does everything necessary for the salvation of His elect.  Reformed Doctrine teaches that man is “dead” in sin, hostile to God, cannot please God, cannot understand the things of God, and is in bondage to sin and Satan (which is summarized by the phrase “Total Depravity” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation), such that man can not contribute anything to his salvation and God must do everything for the elect, including making them alive (regenerating them), giving them faith, sanctifying them, and preserving them to salvation, so that all of God’s elect will be saved.  Accordingly, God’s elect have no reason to boast, because God provided everything needed for their salvation.

Consider what the Canons of Dordt states.  Christ effectually redeemed “out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation”.

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. 

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

“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.”  Romans 8:29-30.

“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 HM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:27-31.

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

“Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You?  What work do You perform?  Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”  Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”  Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;  he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.  All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  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 6:28-39.

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

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken;  truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.”  Isaiah 46:9-11.

Today’s devotion comes from from Romans 15:7-13.

“7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.  8 For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it is written,

“THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES,
AND I WILL SING TO YOUR NAME.”

10 Again he says,

“REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE.”

11 And again,

“PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES,
AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES PRAISE HIM.”

12 Again Isaiah says,

“THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE,
AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES,
IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.”

13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:7-13.

————————

“And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:23-24.

Consider what the Canons of Dordt states.  Christ effectually redeemed “out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation”.

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. 

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

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

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 15:1-7.

“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.  For even Christ did not please Himself;  but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”  For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:1-7.

——————–

We have hope, because God gives perseverance and encouragement.  Verses 4-5.

We have the proper accepting attitude toward our Christian brothers and sisters, because God gives it to us.  Verses 5-6.

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.  God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love;  but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.  We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:16-19.

“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 3:18.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”  Galatians 5:22.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 22, 2020

“and whatever is not from faith is sin.”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 14:18-23.

“For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.  Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food.  All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.  It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.  The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.  Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.  But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith;  and whatever is not from faith is sin.”  Romans 14:18-23.

———————

We fall into temptation when we are confronted by something new, that we usually do not do.  We feel forced to try it.  We apply our own earthly wisdom to justify it so that we can do it.  We do not take time to pray to God for heavenly wisdom and for His will to be done.  We just quickly do it, more concerned about man than God.

But, there is hope!

God gives us faith, and God preserves us.

Through God’s grace, we act out of that faith that He gives us.  “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

Other doctrine trusts in man’s wisdom, man’s faith, and man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God’s wisdom, the faith that God gives, and God giving us the will to do His will.

Other doctrine trusts in man’s perseverance of the saints.

But, Reformed Doctrine trusts in God’s preservation of the saints.

Consider what the Canons of Dordt states.

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. 

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.  FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”  Hebrews 10:36-39.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 14:13-17.

“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.  I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself;  but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love.  Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.  Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 14:13-17.

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“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”  Romans 14:19.

“For you were called to freedom, brethren;  only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Galatians 5:13.

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

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

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:22-25.

“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 5:17-21.

“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;  for you are all sons of light and sons of day.  We are not of night nor of darkness;  so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.  For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:4-11.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13.

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 14:10-12.

“But you, why do you judge your brother?  Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt?  For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.  For it is written,

“AS I LIVE, SAYS THE LORD, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,
AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”

So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Romans 14:10-12.

——————-

At first reading of today’s Scripture, we may tempted to shrink back in fear.  But, when we read the context of the source of these verses, we are surprised at the hope that there is in the context.

“21 “Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together.
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 “I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’
Men will come to Him,
And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.
25 “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
Will be justified and will glory.”  Isaiah 45:21-25.

In other words, it is God Who successfully saves all of His elect such that in the language of this Scripture in verses 24-25:  “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’  Men will come to Him, …  “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory.”  Now, we see how this fits well with Paul’s paraphrase in verse 11:  “EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE TO GOD.”

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad;  for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good?  For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.  The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good;  and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.  But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.  For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Matthew 12:33-37.

In other words, God makes all of His elect good trees producing good fruit.  God makes all of His elect to possess good treasure out of which His elect will say words that “give praise to God” in the language of Paul in verse 11 and in the language of Matthew:  “For by your words you will be justified”.

“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.

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

In other words, yes, “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”, but through God’s grace and work, we will do so “without blame” and “with great joy”.

In conclusion, understanding Scripture and living by faith and enduring through the grace of God, we do not shrink back to destruction, but we receive what was promised:  eternal life.

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE,
HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.
BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”  Hebrews 10:36-39.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 18, 2020

“we are the Lord’s.”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 14:5-9.

“One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike.  Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God;  and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.  For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;  for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord;  therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”  Romans 14:5-9.

——————–

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful, but not all things edify.  Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.”  1 Corinthians 10:23-24.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God;  just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.”  1 Corinthians 10:31-33.

We can do all to the glory of God, because “we are the Lord’s”.  The Lord “makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him.”  My only comfort in life and death is “That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ”.  Question and Answer 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism.

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.

“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself;  for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord;  therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”  Verses 7-8.

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