Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 2, 2014

“His people, a treasured possession”

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 26:12-19.

“12 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.  13 You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me;  I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments.  14 I have not eaten of it while mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor offered any of it to the dead. I have listened to the voice of the Lord my God;  I have done according to all that You have commanded me.  15 Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel, and the ground which You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.’

16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances.  You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul.  17 You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice.  18 The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments;  19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.”  Deuteronomy 26:12-19.

—————–

“Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”  Psalm 100:3.

“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.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

Other doctrine portrays a god with arms folded and waiting to see who will be good enough or wise enough to choose him.

Reformed Doctrine shows the electing and creating God of Scripture Who chooses “His people, a treasured possession” and makes them alive from being dead in sin and makes them holy and blameless and preserves them to salvation.  See “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

From the beginning, Heidelberg Catechism teaches that we belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ, and that because of this relationship as His people, He does everything necessary for our salvation.

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.

Likewise, the Canons of Dordt shows an electing God Who does everything necessary for the salvation of His elect.

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.  Article 8 of Head II:  Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

Likewise, the Belgic Confession shows this election was made “without any respect to their works”.

Article 16:  Of Eternal Election.

 We believe that all the posterity of Adam being thus fallen into perdition and ruin, by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest himself such as he is; that is to say, merciful and just:  Merciful, since he delivers and preserves from this perdition all, whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable counsel of mere goodness, hath elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works:  Just, in leaving others in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.

Likewise, the Westminster Larger Catechism shows His special love to His elect which is not motivated by anything in them.

Question 67:  What is effectual calling? 

Answer:  Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he does, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.

Why are we hesitant to embrace this blessed doctrine?  Is not the Almighty Creator able to do such things?

“8 “Drip down, O heavens, from above,
And let the clouds pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit,
And righteousness spring up with it.
I, the Lord, have created it.

9 “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—
An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth!
Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’
Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?
10 “Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
Or to a woman, ‘To what are you giving birth?’”
11 Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker:

“Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons,
And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands.”  Isaiah 45:8-11.

“15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”  18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God?  The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?  21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?  22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.  25 As He says also in Hosea,

“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’
And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’”
26 “And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”  Romans 9:15-26.

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