Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 13, 2019

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 22:1-11.

“Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.”

And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet;  and he *said,

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today.  I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify.  From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished.

“But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’  And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’  And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’  And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.  And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’  And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’  But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus.”  Acts 22:1-11.

—————

If ever there was a perfect candidate to promote alleged free-will, it would be Paul.  Paul was highly educated, strict, zealous, and effective.

But, Paul testified of God’s sovereignty.  God overwhelmed him with a very bright light, knocking him to the ground, and confronted him through a voice he heard:  “I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.”

Paul asked:  “What shall I do, Lord?”  as if he would do what is right through his own alleged free-will.

But, God instructed him that he (Paul) would do “all that has been appointed for you to do” by God.

Likewise, we read in Scripture:  “Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”  John 6:28-29.

Paul “was led by the hand”.

Other doctrine points to what they can do through their own alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine points to the work of God.

Paul stated:  “If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:  circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews;  as to the Law, a Pharisee;  as to zeal, a persecutor of the church;  as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,”  Philippians 3:4-9.

I have been crucified with Christ;  and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”  Galatians 2:20-21.


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