Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 28, 2019

‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 16:19-31.

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.  And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table;  besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.  Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom;  and the rich man also died and was buried.  In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things;  but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  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.’  And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets;  let them hear them.’  But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’  But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31.

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It is true that those who did not listen to Moses and the Prophets would not listen to Jesus who rose from the dead.

Jesus said:  “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”  John 5:46-47.

But, there is also a deeper meaning.

Scripture teaches that man is dead in sin and does not understand nor seek God nor do good, and that man is hostile to God and enslaved to sin and Satan.  Romans 3:10-18, Romans 8:7, Romans 6:20-21, Colossians 1:21, and Ephesians 2:1-3.  Reformed Doctrine summarizes this point as man’s “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Unless we have a good understanding and belief in “Total Depravity”, we will be like the rich man who believed that we only need to be warned in order to believe, repent, and seek God.

If ever there was a group of people who should have believed, repented, and sought God, it would have been Jesus’ followers.  They saw Jesus’ miracles, heard Jesus’ preaching, and otherwise observed Jesus Who was the perfect image of the invisible God in Whom the fullness of God dwelt.  Colossians 1:15 and 19.

And yet, many of Jesus’ followers did not believe but eventually left Him.

“And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”  John 6:65-66.

Reformed Doctrine understands that because of man’s “Total Depravity”, we need God to elect us for salvation, make us alive, give us faith, and preserve us to salvation.  In other words, Reformed Doctrine understands that because of man’s “Total Depravity”, we need God to provide all that we need for salvation from the 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” as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;  and I will raise him up on the last day.”  John 6:44.


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