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January 18, 2020, 03:50:54 PM

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1  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: Today at 07:21:28 AM
A Created People

“This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD.” (Psalm 102:18)

Only God can create, and whenever this verb (Hebrew bara) is used in the Bible, the subject of the verb, either explicitly or implicitly, is God! However, certain “progressive creationists” contend that “creation” does not have to be instantaneous but can be a protracted process—some form of evolution. The verse above is used as a proof text for this position, the idea being that the Jewish “people” are being gradually created (“molded”) into a nation that will eventually bring praise to God.

This type of scriptural distortion illustrates the extremes to which theistic evolutionists and progressive creationists will go in order to force long evolutionary ages into Scripture. In the context, the psalmist is not speaking of a long process but a future event. He is speaking of a future time to “have mercy upon Zion,” when “the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come” (v. 13). At that future time, “the LORD . . . shall appear in his glory” (v. 16). Then will come the glorious day “when the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD” (v. 22).

It is only then that “the people shall be created” who “shall praise the LORD.” When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ by faith as his Creator and Savior, he does indeed become “a new [creation]” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and the miracle of regeneration is always recognized in Scripture as an instantaneous event accomplished by the Creator in the mind and heart of the believer at the time of conversion. As for the Jews who are alive when the Lord returns, “in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David” (Zechariah 13:1). Multitudes will believe and become, at that time, “new creature in Christ Jesus.” HMM
2  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 17, 2020, 08:02:35 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Absolute Assurance

“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:33-34)

This is an amazing proof of God’s limitless love for us. God Himself did not hesitate to deliver His own Son as payment for us. God gave the dearest, the most precious, the most excellent Gift He could possibly give—His one and only Son—for you and me!

God will, therefore, “freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32). The Word of God contains much Scripture written on these “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Not only has the omniscient Creator acted in love toward us, but He did so knowing “our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

Surely you will remember the gentle record that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s love was given unilaterally toward us. We must be drawn to our Lord’s love by the heavenly Father Himself (John 6:44).

Since the entire process is God’s process from beginning to end, “he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). HMM III
3  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 16, 2020, 08:11:49 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God Himself Is For Us

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

This stunning statement is founded on the unalterable attributes of the triune God (Romans 8:31-35). God Himself secures our salvation; who then can possibly undo His work?

    “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
    “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
    “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me” (Psalm 56:11).

God Himself is the giver and the protector of our salvation.

    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).
    “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
    “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

What can possibly undo the work of the omnipotent and omniscient triune Godhead and Creator of all things? It is utter foolishness to yield our eternity to the Savior and then conclude that our feeble efforts could somehow thwart a work of eternity. HMM III
4  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 15, 2020, 07:36:45 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God's Fail-Safe Plan--Glorification

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

God “glorifies” those whom He has justified. The Greek term is doxazo, with the core meaning “to make glorious, adorn with luster, clothe with splendor.” It is the same word the Lord Jesus uses of what the heavenly Father will do for His beloved Son. “It is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God” (John 8:54). It is also the same word the heavenly Father speaks about Himself. Jesus prayed: “Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28).

Paul addressed the awful sentence that would be executed on those who reject the substitutionary work our Lord accomplished on Calvary. All who reject it are doomed “because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23).

As for us, we are to share in the glory that our Lord will receive, so that “God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11). When all the redeemed stand before the throne in heaven, we will all sing the Song of Moses: “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy” (Revelation 15:4). HMM III
5  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 14, 2020, 07:46:46 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God's Fail-Safe Plan--Justification

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

This summary phrase has the “list” of what God does when He causes one of the sinful sons or daughters of Adam to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). We will not ever grasp the fullness of the omnipotent and omniscient Father in heaven who draws us to Him (John 6:44).

We do need reminding from time to time that our justification is based on our calling, which came about because we were “predestinated” to be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Those heavenly decisions were made since God had foreknowledge of our “members . . . which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).

Yes! I am saved to “the uttermost” (Hebrews 7:25). I was “rendered righteous” when the great Creator God the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, was made “to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” the triune Godhead remains “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:24, 26). HMM III
6  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 13, 2020, 08:03:36 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God's Fail-Safe Plan--Calling

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

God has “called” those whom He has predestined. The Greek term is kaleo, widely used to convey a specific invitation. Note how the Scriptures use kaleo with the formal identification of the name Jesus: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. . . . Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:21, 23).

Just so, Jesus is “called” a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23). The lord in the parable of the vineyard “calls” the laborers (Matthew 20:8), and the king in the parable of the marriage feast “bids” those in the “highways, and as many as you find” to the feast (Matthew 22:9).

This same invitation (a specific and identifiable calling) is issued to believers when we “were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). It should come as no unusual matter, therefore, that because God foreknew how we would respond to His invitation, He could then “pre-order” the end product of that calling, having “saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

May we never tire of the precious knowledge that God’s “calling” was an invitation that had an eternity behind and ahead of it—merely executed in time and space. HMM III
7  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 12, 2020, 07:04:12 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God's Fail-Safe Plan--Predestination

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

God “predestinates” all whom He has foreknown. The Greek term is proorizo. It is similar to proginosko (the word used for “foreknowledge”). The basic meaning is “to predetermine, decide beforehand” as opposed to having had knowledge about beforehand.

It is used in five other Scriptures in the New Testament. Acts 4:28 indicates that the crucifixion happened as “thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Paul told the Corinthian church that “the wisdom of God” was “ordained before the world” (1 Corinthians 2:7).

Although God’s omniscience would indicate that He is aware of all “the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), His predestination seems to be more specifically focused. Our text insists that the predestination (decision made ahead of time) is “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Paul also confirms this in his letter to the Ephesian church, where we are told we are predestinated to adoption as children (Ephesians 1:5) and that this adoption is “according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11).

God surely knows the details of our lives (Matthew 10:30; Luke 12:7), but the “liberty” God has granted to His children on Earth is not predestined (Galatians 5:1, 11). God grants us choice in much (Exodus 17:9; 1 Chronicles 21:10; Proverbs 1:29; Philippians 1:22)—at least as it seems to be so to us. HMM III
8  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 11, 2020, 09:03:10 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: God's Fail-Safe Plan--Foreknowledge

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

God “foreknew” everyone who would become His children. The Greek term is proginosko and is used only four other times in the New Testament. It means precisely as conveyed: “to know ahead of time.”

Paul used it in Acts 26:5 when he told Agrippa that the Jews “knew [him] from the beginning.” In Romans 11:2, Paul spoke of Israel whom God “foreknew,” and Peter insisted that the Lord Jesus was “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20).

The common use, however, is illustrated in 2 Peter 3:17, where the twice-born are told: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”

The foreknowledge of God is very specific of every living creature. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29).

“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth), it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger” (Romans 9:11-12).

Is it not affirming to know that “he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4)? HMM III
9  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 10, 2020, 07:35:39 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Confirming God's Purpose to Us

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

This power-packed promise is sometimes misquoted, failing to complete the qualifiers that secure the good for which all things work together. Frequently overlooked is the context upon which “all things” are based.

    “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).
    “All things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).
    “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).
    “Every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:12-13).

The “all things” are promised to those who “love God.” That is defined by obedience to His commandments (1 John 5:3). Further, those who love God are “the called.” That definite article demands all that follows in Romans 8:29-30.

And finally, those who love God and who are “the” called are absolutely and consciously aware that God has “made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself. . . . In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9, 11:12). HMM III
10  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 09, 2020, 10:59:53 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Searching Our Hearts

“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27)

One of the great axioms of Scripture is that the triune Godhead is not three gods, but rather “the LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Having just given the wonderful insight in the previous verse that the Holy Spirit helps our “infirmities” by transmitting our inexpressible prayers directly to God, the Creator now responds that the inseparable and omniscient triune Godhead already knows that the indwelling Holy Spirit communicates for the “saints according to the will of God.”

This is no new truth. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Bible abounds with this fact. “The LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21). “God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20).

It is no wonder that God knows the “mind of the Spirit.” The core ministry of He who is “the Spirit of truth” is that He will “guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13). HMM III
11  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 08, 2020, 07:00:59 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Helping Us in Our Weakness

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)

When the Holy Spirit said He “helpeth our infirmities,” He caused Paul to coin the Greek word sunantilambanomai (translated “helpeth”). This very unusual and complicated term is only used twice in Scripture, once in our text and the other when Martha requested that Jesus tell Mary to “help” her wait on guests during a dinner at their home (Luke 10:40). This strong term insists on working together in the same task with the same enthusiasm.

We have astheneia (infirmities) and are unable to articulate the correct request. But the Holy Spirit makes huperentugchano (intercession) for us; again, a completely unusual word, adding the Greek preposition huper (above) to the basic word for “intercession” (used in Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25).

Then, the Holy Spirit uses stenagmos (groaning) that cannot be alaletos (stated), using two words unique to this very specific application. What seems to be in view by Paul is that the Holy Spirit makes a “sigh” in a way that only God Himself can understand, because the thought is “too deep” for words.

Whenever we find these words used in other Greek literature, they usually describe a sound that is emitted under either pain or ecstasy. How marvelous! HMM III
12  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 07, 2020, 08:56:19 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Stimulating Patience for Us

“For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. . . . Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:19, 21-25)

The Holy Spirit has insured us with a witness with our own spirit that, as the children of God, we have certain affirmations about our relationship with the Creator. Clearly, we are to know that our eternity is “reserved in heaven” for us, since the power of none other than the Creator Himself keeps us (1 Peter 1:4-5).

The current “fellowship of his sufferings” that we are privileged to now endure (Philippians 3:10) has absolutely no comparative value to the glory we will share with our Redeemer for eternity. It is a fact that the creature (read “creation”) is an unwilling participant, “groaning” in those sufferings. Yet, because of the Holy Spirit’s witness, we have an “earnest expectation” that assures us “that in nothing [we] shall be ashamed, but that . . . Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20).

We “are saved by hope,” but we have not seen that hope. Hope seen is not hope. Hope expected is patiently waited for. HMM III
13  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 06, 2020, 08:16:46 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Verifying Our Relationship with Christ

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)

Since it is obvious that we are children of God by the internal ministry of the Holy Spirit to our spirit, then it follows that we are “heirs of God.” Paul states it should be equally obvious that we must be “joint-heirs” with God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus (today’s text).

It is noteworthy that Paul recognizes that one of the sure signs of our relationship with Christ is that “we suffer with him.” Paul warned: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). That was promised by our Brother Himself when He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

But—and here is the great promise—we will “be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). All our present sufferings pale in comparison to “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). When our Lord Jesus was delivering the simple Beatitudes as He introduced His magnificent Sermon on the Mount, He ended them with the note that we would be persecuted (Matthew 5:11). However, we were to “rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:12). HMM III
14  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 05, 2020, 07:38:48 AM
The Holy Spirit's Ministry: Identifying the Children of God

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:16)

Paul presents a magnificent section in Romans 8 on the resources of the believer. He begins with an affirmation that the Holy Spirit has been tasked to bear witness with our spirit that we are the actual children of God.

No less than 13 times does the phrase “children of God” appear in the New Testament, all written in one way or another to confirm that we “are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

Obviously, this does not apply to all humanity, as some would assert. None other than Jesus Himself stated that the wicked Pharisees and Sadducees were “of your father the devil” (John 8:44). The apostle John made the difference crystal clear: “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:10).

The children of God are peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and according to the Lord Jesus are “equal unto the angels” because they are “the children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36). Furthermore, none other than the Creator Himself promises to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:52).

Finally, this is how each of us can know that we are, indeed, the children of God—“that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2). HMM III
15  Theology / Bible Study / Re: A Daily Devotional on: January 04, 2020, 08:40:07 AM
Declaring the Unknown God

“As I . . . beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:23)

The people of Athens were known to be quite religious, worshipping a host of nature gods. They even had set up an altar “to the unknown god.” Paul pounced on this point of contact to declare unto them the God they didn’t know.

He starts by laying the foundation: This God, he claims, is the Creator. He not only “made the world and all things therein” (v. 24), but also is “Lord of heaven and earth.” To cause to exist and then to rule over all of creation, one must be omnipotent. He is much too great to dwell in “temples made with hands.” How ludicrous to think He might need anything, including the worship of men, “seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (v. 25).

This God “hath made of one blood all nations of men” and “hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation” (v. 26). To know all men, their race, futures, and details of their lives, God must be omniscient, eternal, boundless. He has done this so “that they should seek the Lord” (v. 27). He is not hard to find, for He is “not far from every one of us.” He is the sustainer and source of all life. “In him we live, and move, and have our being; . . . we are also his offspring” (v. 28), totally unlike gods of “gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (v. 29).

But mankind has not known this God. He has been patient, but hates sin and “commandeth all men every where to repent” (v. 30), to gain forgiveness based on the work of “that man whom he hath ordained” (v. 31) as a final sacrifice, or as righteous judge. We can be sure of this because, when the sacrifice was slain, God “raised him from the dead” (v. 31).

Some mocked at the declaration of this mighty God (v. 32); some refused to act; but others believed (v. 34). JDM
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