Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 18, 2018

“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”, you do not believe that you need the Gospel.

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 4:14-21.

“And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.  And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up;  and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.  And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down;  and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.  And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  Luke 4:14-21.

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The Gospel is indeed good news if you are humble and recognize that you need the Gospel to save you, because you are poor in spirit, captive to sin and Satan, spiritually blind, oppressed, and subject to the wrath of God.

But, if you are proud and do not recognize that you are poor in spirit, captive to sin and Satan, spiritually blind, oppressed, and subject to the wrath of God, then you think you do not need the Gospel or at least do not need it now.

“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed;  and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”  Revelation 3:17-18.

Other doctrine tries to build up your self-esteem, teaching you that you are basically good, you can do good works, and your will is free to choose good.

But, Reformed Doctrine humbles us, teaching us in its first point our natural condition of “Total Depravity”, that is, we are dead in sin, unable to understand and seek God, hostile to God, and captive to sin and Satan.

For those who know how great their sins and miseries, the Gospel is indeed good news that God provides all that they need for salvation from beginning to the end:  from the beginning of God’s “Unconditional Election” through God’s “Limited Atonement” through God’s “Irresistible Grace” to the end of God’s “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Reformed creed Canons of Dordt.

Here is what the Heidelberg Catechism states:  

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.

Q. 2.  How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
A.  Three:  the first, how great my sins and miseries are;  the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries;  the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:8-10.


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