Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 13, 2018

“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless” – “So every good tree bears good fruit” – “the fruit of the Spirit is love”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 25:31-46.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before Him;  and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;  and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;  I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me;  I was sick, and you visited Me;  I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;  for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in;  naked, and you did not clothe Me;  sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’  Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’  Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’  These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:31-46.

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First, we see another example of election a/k/a predestination taught throughout Scripture.  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  Verse 34.

“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,”  Ephesians 1:4-5.

Second, we see that there are consequences of such election a/k/a predestination in addition to eternal life.  As Ephesians 1:4 teaches, there is the consequence of election a/k/a predestination that we will be holy and blameless.  And, as today’s Scripture teaches, we become loving to others and do good.  “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;  I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink;  I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me;  I was sick, and you visited Me;  I was in prison, and you came to Me.’”  Verses 35-36.

“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.”  Matthew 7:17-19.

Third, the righteous remain humble, trusting God’s work within them and not trusting their own goodness nor trusting their own will nor their own works.  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’”  Verses 37-39.

Fourth, the righteous are given different spiritual gifts and opportunities.  The collective church may do it all, but we as individuals are not expected to do it all.  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”  Verse 40.

Fifth, even with spiritual gifts and opportunities. we may feel little desire to do these things.  I feel little desire to do these things.  But, that feeling is not necessarily bad if it leads us to “… learn more and more to know our sinful nature, and thus become the more earnest in seeking the remission of sin and righteousness in Christ;  likewise, that we constantly endeavor, and pray to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we may become more and more conformable to the image of God, till we arrive at the perfection proposed to us in a life to come.”  Heidelberg Catechism.  Answer 115.

Sixth, there is hope in God.

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.  Canons of Dordt.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love …”  Galatians 5:22.


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