Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 4, 2019

“I guarded them and not one of them perished”

Today’s devotion comes from John 17:6-12.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world;  they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;  for the words which You gave Me I have given to them;  and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.  I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me;  for they are Yours;  and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine;  and I have been glorified in them.  I am no longer in the world;  and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You.  Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.  While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me;  and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”  John 17:6-12.

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“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29.

Other doctrine instills fear to not let go of God.

But, Reformed Doctrine instills faith that God will not let go of our hand.

“23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24.

Other doctrine warns its listeners to not forsake the LORD.

But, Reformed Doctrine assures its listeners that the LORD will not forsake His people.

“For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever, …”  Psalm 37:28.

Other doctrine teaches more and more laws and practical tips, relying on wisdom and willpower of man, on how to walk more uprightly.

But, Reformed Doctrine builds faith in God and God’s work that God will put His laws into their heart and will not allow their steps to slip. 

“The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.”  Psalm 37:31.

Other doctrine continually worries and is anxious and panics both about the activities of the wicked and about their own activities that can cause them to fall from grace.

But, Reformed Doctrine steadfastly trusts in the LORD that He will deliver from their enemies and that He will preserve them to salvation.

“32 The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.”  Psalm 37:32-33.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes this precious truth as “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt state in part about “Preservation of the Saints” (also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”) in the section FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

Article 3.  By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.  But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated. 

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.


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