Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 27, 2021

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, … so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”

Today’s devotion comes from James 1:5-8.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8.

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First, we need to remember the sharp distinction between the prayer requests of the wicked and the prayer requests of the righteous.

“The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29.

“What the wicked fears will come upon him,
But the desire of the righteous will be granted.” Proverbs 10:24.

Second, we need to distinguish the differences for what we pray.  We tend to ask for things to make our earthly life easier, but today’s Scripture singles out the importance of asking for wisdom.  

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God ….”  Verse 5.

Third, we need to ask in faith “without any doubting”.

“For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  Verses 7-8.

Other doctrine seeks to build up faith in man and man’s wisdom and man’s will and man’s works.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks to build up faith in God and God’s wisdom and God’s will and God’s works.

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

First, Reformed Doctrine encourages us to pray for God’s wisdom and God’s will and God’s works.   

Second, Reformed Doctrine encourages us to pray for the performance by God of His promises in Scripture.

Third, Reformed Doctrine encourages us to focus on God’s “Unconditional Election” as the reason why God will perform His promises in Scripture.

How can we shun election a/k/a predestination and expect to get anything, thinking that our prayer request will be granted because of our own goodness, our own works, or our own faith?  That “faith” will certainly waver and doubt.

The reason why our prayer requests are granted, including that we receive every spiritual blessing, is that God chose us a/k/a God predestined us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6. 

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”  John 15:16. 

How can we have faith without doubting unless God gives us that faith?

But, there is hope!

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself

Consider the following from Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

Article 8. For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation: …

Through Christ’s death, we receive “the gift of justifying faith” that does not doubt, but rather is perfect.

As stated in Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is “the author and perfecter of faith”.

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-17.


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