Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:35-49.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;  it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.”  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural;  then the spiritual.  The first man is from the earth, earthy;  the second man is from heaven.  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy;  and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”  1 Corinthians 15:42-49.

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“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.

“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”  Verse 49.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  John 3:6.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;  who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”  Philippians 3:20-21.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:29-34.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+15&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me?  If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.  Do not be deceived:  “Bad company corrupts good morals.”  Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning;  for some have no knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.”  1 Corinthians 15:32-34.

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“If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE.”  Verse 32.  But, the dead are raised.  “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”  Romans 14:12.

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds:  to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;  but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.”  Romans 2:4-8.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived;  neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

“The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  Romans 13:12-14.

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not be partakers with them;  for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord;  walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”  Ephesians 5:6-10.

“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 90:10-12.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”  Ephesians 5:15-21.

But, there is hope!

Other doctrine teaches man’s perseverance in doing good based on man’s strength and man’s will and that man can fall from grace.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches God’s preservation of the saints which is based on God’s strength, God’s Will, and God’s faithfulness.

This is “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Canons of Dordt.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIFTH HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

Article 3.  By reason of these remains of indwelling sin, and the temptations of sin and of the world, those who are converted could not persevere in a state of grace, if left to their own strength.  But God is faithful, who having conferred grace, mercifully confirms, and powerfully preserves them herein, even to the end.

Article 8.  Thus, it is not in consequence of their own merits, or strength, but of God’s free mercy, that they do not totally fall from faith and grace, nor continue and perish finally in their backslidings;  which, with respect to themselves, is not only possible, but would undoubtedly happen;  but with respect to God, it is utterly impossible, since his counsel cannot be changed, nor his promise fail, neither can the call according to his purpose be revoked, nor the merit, intercession and preservation of Christ be rendered ineffectual, nor the sealing of the Holy Spirit be frustrated or obliterated.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 24, 2020

“For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.  For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own order:  Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.  For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.  But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.  When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”  1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

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Other doctrine puffs up man and man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine praises God and God’s sovereignty.

“For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET.”  Verse 27.

“19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!”  Psalm 103:19-22.

Other doctrine presents a pitiful god who wrings his hands, hoping that man will exercise his alleged free-will to choose him.

But, Reformed Doctrine presents the God of Scripture Who has destroyed all of his enemies.  “… He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”  Verses 24-26.

“The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
2 The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”  …

5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.”  Psalm 110:1-2 and 5-6.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.”  Exodus 15:6-7.

“Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”  Psalm chapter 2.

Other doctrine presents a gospel based on man’s choice according to man’s alleged free-will.

But, Reformed Doctrine presents the gospel of Scripture based on this absolute sovereignty of God over all things, certainly including over salvation:  ” … the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,”  2 Timothy 1:7-10.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” Romans 9:15-18.

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth;  Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.  Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might;  and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.  Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.”  1 Chronicles 29:11-13.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

“Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;  and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;  you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”  1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

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The importance of the resurrection of Christ is the clear theme of today’s devotion.

“if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;  you are still in your sins.”  Verse 17.

“Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”  Verse 18.

“If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”  Verse 19.

But, Christ has been raised from the dead which means so much to us!

“knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.”  2 Corinthians 4:14.

“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”  Romans 4:25.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

Consider the following from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Q. 45.  What doth the resurrection of Christ profit us?

A.  First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, that He might make us partakers of that righteousness which He had purchased for us by His death;  secondly, we are also by His power raised up to a new life;  and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;  for he who has died is freed from sin.”  Romans 6:4-7.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 4:14.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:6-11.

“After that He (Christ) appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain;  but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”  1 Corinthians 15:6-11.

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Today’s Scripture leads us to meditate what the grace of God does for us.

By the grace of God, we are saved.  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.

By the grace of God, we also receive our condition, with all of what we may have considered the good and the bad (our “baggage” that we carry through life, so to speak).  

Paul stated:  “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am”.  Verses 9-10.

By the grace of God, we also receive spiritual gifts to build up the church of God.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;  but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:  if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  if service, in his serving;  or he who teaches, in his teaching;  or he who exhorts, in his exhortation;  he who gives, with liberality;  he who leads, with diligence;  he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”  Romans 12:3-7.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  …

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:7 and 11-13.

But, there was hope for Paul!

“and His grace toward me did not prove vain;  but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”  Verse 10.

Even the baggage that Paul carried through his life (that he at one time persecuted the church of God) was used by the grace of God to cause Paul to labor for the church of God even more than all of them!

And, there is also hope for us!

God’s grace to us also does not prove vain.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

“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.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:6.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:1-5.

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”  1 Corinthians 15:1-5.

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Our ears should “perk up” when we hear:  “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you” and “For I delivered to you as of first importance”.

How then does Paul define the gospel?

What is “first importance”?

Paul defines the gospel and that which is first importance as “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”.  Verses 3-4.

First, the gospel is based on historical events.  In other words, the gospel is based on facts, not beliefs.  Later in the chapter, we read:  “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:14.

Second, the gospel is based on the Scriptures.  We read twice that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” and “He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures“.  Verses 3-4.

Other doctrine defines the gospel as salvation is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  Thus, salvation is based on man’s power and man’s action of being wise enough and willing enough to accept Christ.

But, Reformed Doctrine defines the gospel as salvation given by God to God’s elect through Christ’s death and resurrection.  Thus, salvation is based on God’s choice and God’s power according to God’s word.

We remember earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians the following Scriptures.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18.

“For it is written,

“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”  1 Corinthians 1:19.

“For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;  but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:22-24.

“and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:4-5.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:26-30.

“so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:31.

And, we also remember Romans 9:15-18.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”  So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”  Romans 9:15-18.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians chapter 14.  Here is a link to this chapter – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+14&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.  For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God;  for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.  But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.  One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself;  but one who prophesies edifies the church.  Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy;  and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying.”  1 Corinthians 14:1-5.

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“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”  Verse 1.

“So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”  Romans 14:19.

“One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself;  but one who prophesies edifies the church.”  Verse 4.

“So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken?  For you will be speaking into the air.  There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning.  If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.  So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.

Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”  Verses 9-13.

“however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.”  Verse 19.

“So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers;  but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.  Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?  But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all;  the secrets of his heart are disclosed;  and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.”

What is the outcome then, brethren?  When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation.  Let all things be done for edification.”  Verse 22-26.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:11-13.

“Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.  But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”  Verse 39.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 13:8-13.

Love never fails;  but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away;  if there are tongues, they will cease;  if there is knowledge, it will be done away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part;  but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.  When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child;  when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;  now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three;  but the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:8-13.

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How is love greater than faith and hope?

There comes a time when we see and no longer need to hope and have faith.  

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope;  for who hopes for what he already sees?”  Romans 8:24.

“Jesus *said to him (the disciple Thomas), “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”  John 20:29.

But, “Love never fails”, that is, God’s love never fails.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39.

The source of our faith, our hope, our love, and everything else that we need for salvation is God’s love for us.

“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3.

“For those whom He foreknew (loved), 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.

“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.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  1 John 4:10.

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:  …  

Article 9.  This purpose proceeding from everlasting love towards the elect, has from the beginning of the world to this day been powerfully accomplished, and will henceforward still continue to be accomplished, notwithstanding all the ineffectual opposition of the gates of hell, so that the elect in due time may be gathered together into one, and that there never may be wanting a church composed of believers, the foundation of which is laid in the blood of Christ, which may steadfastly love, and faithfully serve him as their Savior, who as a bridegroom for his bride, laid down his life for them upon the cross, and which may celebrate his praises here and through all eternity.  Canons of Dordt in the section titled SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby.

“We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:19.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge;  and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous;  love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly;  it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-7.

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Love is often thought to be a temporary, one-time “showy” gesture like something done on Valentine’s Day.

But, today’s Scripture defines love as “bears all things” and “endures all things” that takes a lifetime to prove.

Today’s Scripture also defines love as more quiet and reserved:  “love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly;  it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth”.

Therefore, although there are many examples of love, I am going to give one example of love that is not often thought of an example of love, even though it is a very common and very important example of love that exhibits all these qualities of love.

Love is being good at your job, patiently and kindly serving your customers.

Love is being good at your job, not being jealous of your supervisor who got the promotion that you deserved.

Love is being good at your job without bragging, without being arrogant, and without otherwise acting unbecomingly.

Love is being good at your job looking out for the interests of your customers, not seeking your own interests on the job.

Love is being good at your job, finishing serving your customers when such service takes longer than expected and cuts into your time off.

Love is being good at your job, not being provoked by your customers, nor taking into account a wrong suffered, when they are demanding and selfish.

Love is being good at your job, not cutting corners, but rather continually learning how to do a better job, thereby not rejoicing in unrightneousness, but rather, rejoicing with the truth.

Love is being good at your job, whatever your job may be at work or at home, by bearing all things that the job requires, hoping and believing that God will bless you in your work, and enduring all things that come your way on the job.

But, there is hope!

“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.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.

“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.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.

“Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.  And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.  All are not apostles, are they?  All are not prophets, are they?  All are not teachers, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?  All do not have gifts of healings, do they?  All do not speak with tongues, do they?  All do not interpret, do they?  But earnestly desire the greater gifts.

And I show you a still more excellent way.”  1 Corinthians 12:27-31.

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We all do not have the same spiritual gifts nor the same ministries.  We need each other.  

“All are not apostles, are they?  All are not prophets, are they?  All are not teachers, are they?  All are not workers of miracles, are they?”  Verse 29.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.  There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons.  But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

“If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be?  If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?  But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”  1 Corinthians 12:17-18.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  …  from whom (Christ) the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  Ephesians 4:11-12 and 16.

We should help and encourage each other.

“6 Each one helps his neighbor
And says to his brother, “Be strong!”
7 So the craftsman encourages the smelter,
And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil,
Saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
And he fastens it with nails,
So that it will not totter.”  Isaiah 41:6-7.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11.

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