Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 17, 2019

“and these whom He predestined, He also called” – “So faith comes from hearing”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 22:23-30.

“And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air, the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, stating that he should be examined by scourging so that he might find out the reason why they were shouting against him that way.  But when they stretched him out with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman and uncondemned?”  When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, “What are you about to do?  For this man is a Roman.”  The commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”  And he said, “Yes.”  The commander answered, “I acquired this citizenship with a large sum of money.”  And Paul said, “But I was actually born a citizen.”  Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him;  and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains.

But on the next day, wishing to know for certain why he had been accused by the Jews, he released him and ordered the chief priests and all the Council to assemble, and brought Paul down and set him before them.”  Acts 22:23-30.

———————–

There are two general parts to a successful witness.  There is the speaker, and there is the audience.

We see God providing three different audiences for Paul in Jerusalem.

In today’s Scripture, we see that God caused the commander to release Paul and order the Council to assemble for Paul to speak to them.  In Acts 21:40, we see God caused the commander to give permission to Paul to speak to the group of hostile Jews.  See Paul’s speech to them in Acts 22:1-21.  In Acts 21:17-19, we see God caused the brethren to receive Paul gladly.

For the elect, God “causes the gospel to be externally preached to them” and more!

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.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”  Romans 10:17.  In other words, God does not grant it to everyone to hear the gospel and be saved.

Q60:  Can they who have never heard the gospel, and so know not Jesus Christ, nor believe in him, be saved by their living according to the light of nature?

A60:  They who, having never heard the gospel, know not Jesus Christ, and believe not in him, cannot be saved, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, or the laws of that religion which they profess;  neither is there salvation in any other, but in Christ alone, who is the Savior only of his body the church.  Westminster Larger Catechism.  

“election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself”.  Article 9 of FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:29-30.


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