Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 6, 2018

“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)”

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 7:14-23.

“After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand:  there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him;  but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.  [If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”]

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.  And He *said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also?  Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?”  (Thus He declared all foods clean.)  And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.  All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”  Mark 7:14-23.

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If only things on the outside could defile man, then the Pharisees would be righteous because of their strict practice of cleansing themselves such as was described in Mark 7:1-4.  But, we remember Jesus’ exposure of the Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23 of which I quote only the following verses.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.  You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  Matthew 23:25-28.

But, before we all rush to condemn only the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, let us consider the broader and deeper problem of “Total Depravity” that is man’s natural condition.  We were “dead” in sin.  Ephesians 2:1.    None of us understood, and none of us sought God.  Romans 3:10-11.  We were hostile to God.  Romans 8:7 and Colossians 1:21.  We were in bondage to sin.  Romans 7:14-15.

“as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-13.

There is hope!  But, that hope does not come within man as other doctrine teaches.  That hope does not come from the alleged goodness, alleged wisdom, nor alleged free-will of man.

That hope comes from God Who provides all that we need for salvation from beginning to end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” through 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.    This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

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.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace;  as it is written:  “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love;  having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,” Ephesians 1:4,5,6.  And elsewhere: “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called;  and whom he called, them he also justified;  and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” Romans 8:30.  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of the Canons of Dordt.

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 2:4-9.


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