Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 18, 2018

“Salvation belongs to the LORD” – “He chose us” – “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 8:4-15.

“When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:  “The sower went out to sow his seed;  and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up.  Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.  Other seed fell among the thorns;  and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.  Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.”  As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant.  And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.

“Now the parable is this:  the seed is the word of God.  Those beside the road are those who have heard;  then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.  Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy;  and these have no firm root;  they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.  The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”   Luke 8:4-15.

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To other doctrine, it seems so unfair that only some are “granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND” (verse 10) that other doctrine ignore such Scriptures and nevertheless teach that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and that everyone has an “equal playing field” such that what determines one’s salvation is not God, but man.  Under such other doctrine, man’s works or at least man’s alleged free-will determines whether he or she will be saved.

To other doctrine, it seems so unfair that only some are given such “an honest and good heart” that they “hold it (word of God) fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (verse 15) that other doctrine ignore such Scriptures and nevertheless teach that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and that everyone has an “equal playing field” such that what determines one’s salvation is not God, but man.  Under such other doctrine, man’s works or at least man’s alleged free-will determines whether he or she will be saved.

But, Reformed Doctrine sees that regardless of how man may want salvation determined, Scripture clearly and repeatedly teaches that God’s  sole sovereignty determines who will be saved.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  …  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-16 and 18.

The Apostle Paul recognized that it seems so unfair to many, but that God has the right as God to choose those whom He will save.

“You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault?  For who resists His will?”  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?  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?  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?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,  even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”  Romans 9:19-24.

Throughout Scripture, we see that “Salvation belongs to the LORD”.  Psalm 3:8.

Consider the following articles from the Canons of Dordt, FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 1.  As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish, and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle, Romans 3:19, “that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”  And verse 23:  “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  And Romans 6:23:  “for the wages of sin is death.”  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

(In Bill’s words, just because God chose to save some does not mean that God is unjust because He did not choose to save all.)

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.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

Article 10.  The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election;  which doth not consist herein, that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation;  but that he was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to himself, as it is written, “For the children being not yet born neither having done any good or evil,” etc., it was said (namely to Rebecca):  “the elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,” Romans 9:11,12,13.  “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,”  Acts 13:48.

“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,”  Ephesians 1:3-5.


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