Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 10, 2019

“his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 3:16-21.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged;  he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  John 3:16-21.

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Other doctrine pull out John 3:16 as supporting its teaching that God loves everybody.  But, it ignores the rest of the Scripture.

Reformed Doctrine understands the meaning of John 3:16 to be that God loves and “… effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, …”  Article 8 of SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.  In other words, God does not only love certain Jewish people or certain Dutch people.  God loves and effectually redeems all of His elect, Jews and Gentiles, who are scattered over all the world.

Moreover, most of this Scripture does not deal with love but rather deals with hate.  And, this Scripture does not even deal with God’s threat to punish those He hates.  They have already been judged guilty and their punishment has already been determined and set as part of the judgment:  “he who does not believe has been judged already”.  Verse 18.

‘4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;
No evil dwells with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes;
You hate all who do iniquity.
6 You destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.”  Psalm 5:4-6.

There is a sharp contrast between the evil and the elect.

“…  men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”  Verses 19-21.

This language (“his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”) points to the sharp contrast between other doctrine and Reformed Doctrine.

Other doctrine believe that their deeds are done through their own alleged free-will, their own wisdom, and their own works.

But, Reformed Doctrine believes their deeds are done through God’s will, God’s wisdom, and God’s work.

This language describing the elect (“his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”) should give great pause to those who depend on their alleged free-will, their wisdom, and their work for their deeds, rather than depending on God’s will, God’s wisdom, and God’s work for their deeds.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.


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