Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 15, 2019

“the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 16:11-15.

“So putting out to sea from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and on the day following to Neapolis;  and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia, a Roman colony;  and we were staying in this city for some days.  And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer;  and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening;  and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.  And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.”  And she prevailed upon us.”  Acts 16:11-15.

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“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9.

Yet, other doctrine trusts its own heart, its own wisdom, and its own alleged free-will to understand and obey the things of God.

But, Reformed Doctrine refutes the teaching of other doctrine of the ability of our own heart, our own wisdom, and our own alleged free-will to understand and obey the things of God through its teaching of “Total Depravity”, the first point of Calvinism, summarized by “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.  

Article 3.  Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, incapable of saving good, prone to evil, dead in sin, and in bondage thereto, and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they are neither able nor willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature, nor to dispose themselves to reformation.  THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE Of the Corruption of Man, His Conversion to God, and the Manner Thereof of Canons of Dordt.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-12.

Reformed Doctrine trusts God’s sovereign actions to understand and obey the things of God.  In the language of Canons of Dordt, God “not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them”, God also “powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God”.

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.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:26-27.

“… the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”  Verse 14.


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