Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 16, 2018

“many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness” – “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 8:1-13.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”  Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.”  But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me;  and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”  Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;  but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go;  it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.”  Matthew 8:5-13.

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The centurion, likely a Roman centurion, a foreigner, a Gentile, “excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (to use the language of Ephesians 2:12) nevertheless expressed his belief that Jesus could do all that was necessary to heal his servant.  The centurion’s faith was contrasted with the faith of those in Israel.

“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.  I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;  but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Verses 10-12.

Jesus could have only praised the centurion’s faith and only stated that many Gentiles (of similar faith) would be in the kingdom of heaven.

Why did Jesus add:  “but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”?

There are those content to be a part of a religious group.

By the Parable of Marriage Feast, Jesus taught us that the presence alone at marriage feast was not sufficient to make one welcome.  One must be chosen to be there.

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

The religious group may be large and popular, but mere presence within that group is not sufficient.

The extent of faith is important.  The centurion believed that Jesus could do all that was necessary to heal his servant.  Specifically, the centurion believed that it was not necessary for him to host Jesus at his home in order for Jesus to heal his servant.

Most believe and teach that they must do certain things in order for Christ to save them whether it be sufficient works or at least sufficient alleged free-will choice of Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes and teaches that it is important to not trust in themselves to do these things, but rather, it is important to trust in God alone to do all that is required for salvation from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I” and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.  “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.

“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.

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


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