Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 20, 2021

“So teach us to number our days” – “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

Today’s devotion comes from Genesis 3:17-19.

“17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19.


“But I will warn you whom to fear:  fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell;  yes, I tell you, fear Him!”  Luke 12:5. 

“7 For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
8 You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
9 For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.

11 Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:7-12.

We do not have time nor the strength to play church. We don’t have time to shrug our shoulders and flip-flop back and forth between doctrines, thinking that we only need to attend church, rather than to diligently study Scripture and come to abiding faith in Who God is and what He has done for us. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” John 6:39-40.

What is your image of God?

Is your image of God as one who loves everybody but only waits and hopes that the individual will use his alleged free-will to accept him? Do we prefer this image of God because it appeals to most people, our sense of fairness, and our pride and desire to be in control and boast that we deserve some credit for contributing to our salvation?

Or, is your image of God as a victorious warrior who does all that is necessary to secure the salvation of only, but all, of His elect? Do we use Scripture alone to form our image of God and humbly and joyfully use our few days to pursue that God of the Scripture?

Consider that Scripture exhorts us to seek for wisdom as one would seek for silver or hidden treasure.

“4 If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:4-5.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46.

If we are to “strive to enter through the narrow door” and seek wisdom and the kingdom of heaven as one would search for hidden treasure with all of our heart, how much more should we seek the one true God and the one true doctrine of salvation with all of our heart!!!

“And someone said to Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24.

Most doctrine is like a broad bridge open to everyone, but it only goes half-way across the river. Such doctrine teaches that God loves everyone, Christ died for everyone, and God wants to save everyone, but it is up to man to contribute something worthy of salvation whether it be works or at least alleged free-will choice of Christ. The only difference between the unsaved and saved is that the saved does works or maybe as little as uses his alleged free-will choice of Christ to, so to speak, jump from the end of the bridge, across the river, to the shore of salvation. Most doctrine believes that everyone has an equal opportunity to be saved, so the bridge is broad in that sense, but that Christ’s death completely saved no one in particular. Only those who do sufficient works or who take a sufficient “free will leap of faith” to the shore of salvation will be saved. Thus, the bridge is wide, open to everyone, but it only goes halfway across the stream. Accordingly, the saved have reason to boast for contributing to their own salvation and showing themselves worthy of salvation.

In sharp contrast to most doctrine, Reformed Doctrine is like a narrow bridge only open to God’s elect, but the narrow bridge goes all the way across the river to the shore of salvation. Reformed Doctrine teaches that God only loves His elect and only wants to save them and that Christ died only for the elect. In summary, God does everything necessary for the salvation of His elect. Reformed Doctrine teaches that man is “dead” in sin, hostile to God, cannot please God, cannot understand the things of God, and is in bondage to sin and Satan (which is summarized by the phrase “Total Depravity” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt), such that man can not contribute anything to his salvation and God must do everything for the elect, including making them alive (regenerating them), giving them faith, sanctifying them, and preserving them to salvation, so that all of God’s elect will be saved. Accordingly, God’s elect have no reason to boast, because God provided everything needed for their salvation.

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

“My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.” Psalm 34:2.


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