Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 4, 2019

“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 12:49-53.

“I have come to cast fire upon the earth;  and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth?  I tell you, no, but rather division;  for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”  Luke 12:49-53.

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Christ sharply divides the wicked away from the righteous, and thus protects the righteous from the wicked. 

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind;  and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach;  and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away.  So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Matthew 13:47-48.

“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.’  Matthew 25:31-33.

“…  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived;  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

There is also a sharp division between heaven and hell.  

“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’”  Luke 16:26.

God may allow the wicked to dwell in apparent prosperity on earth for a while with the righteous.  But, as the Parable of Wheat and Tares teaches us, God will separate them.

“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.  But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then does it have tares?’  And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’  The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  But he *said, ‘No;  for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Allow both to grow together until the harvest;  and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up;  but gather the wheat into my barn.”’  Matthew 13:24-30.

“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 9:22-24.

On earth, we see the beginnings of the division through Christ’s work of building His church in which He gathers God’s elect into the church and defends them and preserves them, commanding “COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE” and “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”

Q. 54.  What believest thou concerning the “holy catholic church” of Christ?

A.  That the Son of God, from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to Himself by His Spirit and Word, out of the whole human race, a church chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith;  and that I am, and for ever shall remain, a living member thereof.  Heidelberg Catechism.  

“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Do you not judge those who are within the church?  But those who are outside, God judges.  Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”  1 Corinthians 5:9-13.

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”  Psalm 1:1.

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers;  for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God;  just as God said,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUGH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:14-18.


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