Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 13, 2019

“He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people”

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:16-30.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+19&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic;  now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece.  So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”;  this was to fulfill the Scripture:  “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.”  Therefore the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!”  From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar full of sour wine was standing there;  so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.  Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!”  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  John 19:23-30.

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It is painful and make us cringe just to read this account of Jesus’ crucifixion.

But, we are inspired by Jesus’ mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene who stood by the cross.

We too can keep our eyes on Jesus:  “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2.

And, the words “all things had already been accomplished” and “It is finished!” give us hope and lead us to meditate what was accomplished, what was finished, by Jesus on the cross.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,”  Luke 1:8.

In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:7-8.

“Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;  but He (Jesus), having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.  For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”  Hebrews 10:11-14.

“And they *sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals;  for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God;  and they will reign upon the earth.”  Revelation 5:9-10.

Today’s devotion comes from John 19:1-15.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+19&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;  and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.  Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”  Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.  Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”  So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!”  Pilate *said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”  The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.”

Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid;  and he entered into the Praetorium again and *said to Jesus, “Where are You from?”  But Jesus gave him no answer.  So Pilate *said to Him, “You do not speak to me?  Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”  Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above;  for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”  John 19:1-11.

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Other doctrine laments man’s alleged free-will and chance. 

But, Reformed Doctrine rejoices in God’s will and sovereignty.  

Article 13:  Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment:  nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed.  For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly.  And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of;  but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits.  This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father;  who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust;  being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us.  And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.  Belgic Confession.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;  but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear;  you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:28-31.

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:  …   SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

“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.  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 8:28-30.

Today’s devotion comes from John 18:28-40.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+18&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews;  but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?”  Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king.  For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:36-37.

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Other doctrine is dismayed and defeated when it sees the world become more and more wicked, because it teaches that Christ’s kingdom is of this world.

But, Reformed Doctrine understands the meaning of Christ’s statement:  “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Christ’s kingdom consists of God’s elect, and Christ’s actions for His kingdom are for the good of God’s elect.  

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:13-14.

“… Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

Q45:  How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

A45:  Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them;  in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good;  and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel.  Westminster Larger Catechism.

“Then He left the crowds and went into the house.  And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world;  and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom;  and the tares are the sons of the evil one;  and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age;  and the reapers are angels.  So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.  The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire;  in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 13:36-43.

“And they *sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals;  for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God;  and they will reign upon the earth.”  Revelation 5:9-10.

Today’s devotion comes from John 18:15-18 and John 18:25-27.

“Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple.  Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside.  So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.  Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?”  He *said, “I am not.”  Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves;  and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.  So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?”  He denied it, and said, “I am not.”  One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”  Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.”  John 18:15-18 and John 18:25-27.

——————

John’s account of Peter’s denials in today’s Scripture does not contain the details that Matthew’s account of Peter’s denials in Matthew 26:69-75 does.

Matthew may have wanted to emphasize the depth of Peter’s denials and the depth of Peter’s sorrow.  “…  And immediately a rooster crowed.  And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”  And he went out and wept bitterly.”  Matthew 26:74-75.

In comparison, John may have wanted to emphasize God’s forgiveness by not containing the details of Peter’s denials.

(As a side note, this may be all the remarkable if that “other disciple” in today’s Scripture was John.  If so, John would have had the motivation to add more detail considering that he was nearby Peter at the time of Peter’s denials.  We are tempted to make someone else look bad so that we look better in comparison.  But, in sharp contrast, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”  Proverbs 17:9.)

In any event, where or not John was that “other disciple”, today’s Scripture at least causes us to meditate on the following Scriptures which are consistent with such lack of detail by John in his account of Peter’s denials.

“I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin.  Selah.”  Psalm 32:5.

“As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103:12.

“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS
I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”  Hebrews 10:17.

Today’s devotion comes from John 18:12-24.  Here is a link to this Scripture –  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+18&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.  Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world;  I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together;  and I spoke nothing in secret.  Why do you question Me?  Question those who have heard what I spoke to them;  they know what I said.”  When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?”  Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong;  but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”  So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”  John 18:19-24.

——————–

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;  if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.  If I had not come and spoken to them,  they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.  He who hates Me hates My Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin;  but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.  But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’”  John 15:20-25.

“But be on your guard;  for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.  The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour;  for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”  Mark 13:9-11.

Today’s devotion comes from John 18:1-11.

“When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples.  Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.  Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.  So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”  They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.”  He *said to them, “I am He.”  And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.  So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.  Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?”  And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”  Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He;  so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”  Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear;  and the slave’s name was Malchus.  So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath;  the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”  John 18:1-11.

—————–

Other doctrine worries about man’s alleged free-will, choice, and chance.

But, Reformed Doctrine rests in God’s providence, control, and care.

Jesus firmly trusted His Father even at the point of His arrest and though Jesus knew “all the things that were coming upon Him”.  Simply, Jesus trusted in the providence of God.

Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.  Heidelberg Catechism.

Article 13:  Of Divine Providence.

We believe that the same God, after he had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that he rules and governs them according to his holy will, so that nothing happens in this world without his appointment:  nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed.  For his power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that he orders and executes his work in the most excellent and just manner, even then, when devils and wicked men act unjustly.  And, as to what he doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into, farther than our capacity will admit of;  but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God, which are hid from us, contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which he has revealed to us in his Word, without transgressing these limits.  This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father;  who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under his power, that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father, in whom we do entirely trust;  being persuaded, that he so restrains the devil and all our enemies, that without his will and permission, they cannot hurt us.  And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance.  Belgic Confession.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;  but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?  And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10:28-31.

Today’s devotion comes from John 17:20-26.

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;  that they may all be one;  even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You;  and these have known that You sent Me;  and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:20-26.

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Today’s devotion will meditate on the theme of unity.

In Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, He prayed:  “that they may all be one;  even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us …”  Verse 21.

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity …”  Verses 22-23.

“…  I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  Verse 26.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.”  Psalm chapter 133.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 12:13.

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;  one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”  Ephesians 4:4-6.

“… we are members of His body.  FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.  THIS MYSTERY IS GREAT;  BUT I AM SPEAKING WITH REFERENCE TO CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.”  Ephesians 5:30-32.

“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,”  Revelation 21:2-3.

Today’s devotion comes from John 17:13-19.

“But now I come to You;  and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.  I have given them Your word;  and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth;  Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”  John 17:13-19.

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How could Jesus’ words (“these things I have speak in the world”) give the disciples give joy?

Consider that Jesus just told His disciples:  “the world has hated them”.  How could those words give the disciples joy?

Other doctrine just cannot understand how those words about the disciples being “hated” could give the disciples joy, because other doctrine focuses on man and teaches that man gains joy by being nice and polite and kind to others.

But, Reformed Doctrine can understand how those words about the disciples being “hated” could give the disciples joy, because Reformed Doctrine understands that God divides people into two sharply distinct groups:  God’s chosen people (a/k/a God’s elect) and the rest (a/k/a reprobates a/k/a “the world”). 

Although it is good to be nice, polite, and kind to others, such kindness does not insure that one will not be hated:  “the world has hated them (Jesus’ disciples), because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  Verse 14.

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own;  but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;  if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”  John 15:18-20.

“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great;  for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  Matthew 5:11.

Reformed Doctrine understands how those words about the disciples being “hated” could give the disciples joy, because Reformed Doctrine understands God’s love, protection, care, and salvation for His elect (even though they may be “hated” by the world).  God does “keep them from the evil one (Satan)”.  See verse 15.  God does “Sanctify them in the truth;  Your word is truth.”  Verse 17.

“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.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13.

“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.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;  for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD;  you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you HAVE RECEIVED MERCY.”  1 Peter 2:9-10.

“What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?  And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.  As He says also in Hosea,

“I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’
AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’”
“AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’
THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVING GOD.”  Romans 9:22-26.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 4, 2019

“I guarded them and not one of them perished”

Today’s devotion comes from John 17:6-12.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world;  they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;  for the words which You gave Me I have given to them;  and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.  I ask on their behalf;  I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me;  for they are Yours;  and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine;  and I have been glorified in them.  I am no longer in the world;  and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You.  Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.  While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me;  and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”  John 17:6-12.

—————

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish;  and no one will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all;  and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”  John 10:27-29.

Other doctrine instills fear to not let go of God.

But, Reformed Doctrine instills faith that God will not let go of our hand.

“23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD,
And He delights in his way.
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24.

Other doctrine warns its listeners to not forsake the LORD.

But, Reformed Doctrine assures its listeners that the LORD will not forsake His people.

“For the LORD loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever, …”  Psalm 37:28.

Other doctrine teaches more and more laws and practical tips, relying on wisdom and willpower of man, on how to walk more uprightly.

But, Reformed Doctrine builds faith in God and God’s work that God will put His laws into their heart and will not allow their steps to slip. 

“The law of his God is in his heart;
His steps do not slip.”  Psalm 37:31.

Other doctrine continually worries and is anxious and panics both about the activities of the wicked and about their own activities that can cause them to fall from grace.

But, Reformed Doctrine steadfastly trusts in the LORD that He will deliver from their enemies and that He will preserve them to salvation.

“32 The wicked spies upon the righteous
And seeks to kill him.
33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand
Or let him be condemned when he is judged.”  Psalm 37:32-33.

Reformed Doctrine summarizes this precious truth as “Preservation of the Saints”, the “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.

Here is what the Canons of Dordt state in part about “Preservation of the Saints” (also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”) in the section 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. 

Article 9.  Of this preservation of the elect to salvation, and of their perseverance in the faith, true believers for themselves may and ought to obtain assurance according to the measure of their faith, whereby they arrive at the certain persuasion, that they ever will continue true and living members of the church;  and that they experience forgiveness of sins, and will at last inherit eternal life.

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 | August 2, 2019

“to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.”

Today’s devotion comes from John 17:1-5.

“Jesus spoke these things;  and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come;  glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.  Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  John 17:1-5.

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We will meditate on these 3 statements by Jesus in today’s Scripture.

1.  “… You (God the Father) gave Him (Jesus Who is God the Son) authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.”  Verse 2.

This statement of Jesus is a nutshell summary of salvation as explained in more detail in the language of the following Canons of Dordt, “it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross … should effectually redeem …  all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father”.

Christ died for all and only God’s elect:  “the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone” all the saving gifts of salvation”.  These saving gifts include “the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation”.

Christ “preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.”

The foregoing parts of salvation are “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as detailed in the following Canons of Dordt.

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:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

2.  “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  Verse 3.

Other doctrine seeks to know man and what man should do.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks to know God and what God has done.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

3.  “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”  Verse 4.

Other doctrine seeks the glory of man.

But, Reformed Doctrine seeks the glory of God.

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”  John 5:44.

Other doctrine continually seeks to supplement God’s work, thinking that God’s work is not enough and that man must add his works and his alleged free-will to obtain salvation.

But, Reformed Doctrine rests in the work accomplished by Jesus. 

Q. 30.  Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?

A.  They do not;  for though they boast of Him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Savior;  for one of these two things must be true, either that Jesus is not a complete Savior, or that they who by a true faith receive this Savior must find all things in Him necessary to their salvation.  Heidelberg Catechism.

“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 5:39-40.

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