Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 30, 2019

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 7:51-53.

“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit;  you are doing just as your fathers did.  Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?  They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;  you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”   Acts 7:51-53.

———————

Stephen’s words were both true as to the past and prophetic of what they would do to himself within minutes.

But, we should not leave our meditation to only thoughts of condemnation of them.  Later in this chapter, Stephen’s last thoughts before he “fell asleep” were:  “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”  Acts 7:60.

Rather, our thoughts should extend to the need of all men to have their hearts circumcised and softened.  “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit;  …”  Verse 51.  But, praise God, God’s grace toward His elect is irresistible.  This is “Irresistible Grace”, the “I” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.    

Article 11.  But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God;  but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man;  he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens;  from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable;  actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof of Canons of Dordt.

“For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;  and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;  having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.  When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;  and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:9-14.

“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—”  Colossians 1:21-22.


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