Of Water and the Spirit

In his introduction to the Fall 2021 edition of The Master’s Seminary Journal, John MacArthur writes:

Here is the key lesson that runs like a powerful current through everything the Bible says about the New Birth: Eternal life is not a prize for being good. It is not a reward for those who try harder. It is not heaven’s reimbursement for those who live sacrificially in this life. It is not a wage that can be earned by being pious and legalistic. You don’t obtain it by forsaking vices or praying prayers. You can’t acquire it by paying tithes or performing religious ceremonies. It isn’t the birthright of anyone’s ethnicity or an entitlement for some privileged class. You don’t get it by joining a religious sect, no matter how meticulously you keep its traditions.

John goes on to say that the new birth is a gift one doesn’t end. It’s a work of God. That is central to the doctrine of regeneration, the theme of the Fall 2021 TMS Journal…

SOURCE: Of Water and the Spirit

QOTW – Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Question: “Is baptism necessary for salvation?”

Answer: 
The belief that baptism is necessary for salvation is also known as “baptismal regeneration.”…

SOURCE: Is baptism necessary for salvation?

GOT Question of the Week

Question: “What is repentance and is it necessary for salvation?”

Answer: 
Many understand the term repentance to mean “a turning from sin.” Regretting sin and turning from it is related to repentance, but it is not the precise meaning of the word. In the Bible, the word repent means…

SOURCE: https://www.gotquestions.org/repentance.html

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/19/2021

John 3:16-18

You have heard me say (or seen me write here) many times my old Army saying that the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters. The Bible confirms this in Romans 1:20.

Today especially with the advent of all the online resources mankind (for the most part) really has no excuse of any kind not to be highly educated concerning Biblical matters. It is easy to download an App and compare the original Hebrew or Greek text against quality English translations.

Are there still some parts of the Bible where we scratch our head and say “why did God do that,” of course. But that level of understanding God’s personal thoughts or actions and clear Biblical Doctrine are two completely different things.

Understanding and applying the instructions God left us (the Bible in one sense is an instructions manual) rightly is not some great mystery, only a little hard work.

Romans 14:10–12, says that all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The question today is will you be without excuse?


Devotional Thought for Today – 03/26/2021

GOD ORDAINED

Logos.com

ROMANS 8

Overview of Romans 8: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39) – Matthew Henry

Often called the “more than conquerors” chapter in obvious reference to v.37, it is our main text v.30, shown above along with v.28-29 that contains the greatest of Biblical doctrine concerning God-Ordained Salvation.

In v.28, God says; them who are the called according to his purpose.

The called of God and of Jesus Christ; not to any office, or by the external ministry of the word only, but by special grace; from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from the company of sinful men to fellowship with Christ, from a trust in their own righteousness to a dependence on his, to grace here, and glory hereafter; which is done according to the purpose of God: the persons called are fixed upon by God; none are called but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason but that can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby persons are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. – John Gill

In v.29 God says; For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… In other words, God predetermined whom He will save to conform them to the image of Christ.

Our main text v.30 for today tells most of the story if you will, of how we get there. When it comes to Salvation most folks think it all about them, I gave my.., or I went forward and… The fact is this and many other bible verses make it clear that it is all about God and His amazing Grace and not at all about us. God Predestined, Called, Justified, and will eventually Glorify everyone of His Elect.

Below are some posts on the subject of Salvation and the actual order in which the Bible says we are saved. 


Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation

“Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part II

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part III

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part IV

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part V

Ordo Salutis, the Order of Salvation; Part VI

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VIII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation – Part IX

What is the Ordo Salutis / order of salvation?

The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis PDF by A A Hodge
 
The Ordo Salutis by Geerhardus Vos

Devotioinal Thought for Today – 03/15/2021

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12

ACTS 4

Here, I. Peter and John are taken up, upon a warrant from the priests, and committed to jail, Acts 4:1-4. II. They are examined by a committee of the great Sanhedrin, Acts 4:5-7. III. They bravely avow what they have done, and preach Christ to their persecutors, Acts 4:8-12. IV. Their persecutors, being unable to answer them, enjoin them silence, threatening them if they go on to preach the gospel, and so dismiss them, Acts 4:13-22. V. They apply to God by prayer, for the further operations of that grace which they had already experienced, Acts 4:23-30. VI. God owns them, both outwardly and inwardly, by manifest tokens of his presence with them, Acts 4:31-33. VII. The believers had their hearts knit together in holy love and enlarged their charity to the poor, and the church flourished more than ever, to the glory of Christ, Acts 4:33-37. – Matthew Henry 

Christianity is the largest religious group in the world, and in 2020 there were about 2.6 billion adherents globally.[5] What defines a “Christain” [or how one becomes one]  these days man be within some of those denominations up for question, but the bible as our main text proclaims is very clear. 

Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. Christianity is dogmatic, it is a narrow way, for God’s chosen, His elect only and here in Acts Luke is relating Peter saying  …there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP)  

In the end, I do not care if you are part of any of these or their various offshoots:

      • Catholicism 
      • Protestantism 
      • Eastern Orthodoxy 
      • Oriental Orthodoxy 
      • Non-trinitarian Restorationism 
      • Eastern Protestant Christianity 
      • Church of the East 

Without the saving power of Christ and Christ alone, you are not a Christian!

Today’s Prayer

I thank You, Father, for Jesus my Saviour. Thank You for Your gift of salvation that has been given to me through Christ alone. Thank You that salvation is so simple, that even a little child can understand it. Give me the strength and wisdom to speak out daily sharing the Good News.  I pray Lord for your Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of my friends, family, and those who read this that know you not, that they too may rest eternally in Christ.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Acts/4/12

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/09/2021

9 Who hath 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 us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9

2 Timothy 1

¹Paul expresses great affection for Timothy. (v.1-5) Exhorts him to improve his spiritual gifts. (v.6-14) Tells of many who basely deserted him, but speaks with affection of Onesiphorus. (v.15-18) 

In the second section, Paul encourages Timothy to be bold in his testimony and sharing of the Gospel for God alone has given him gifts to accomplish this task. 

Our main text for today should not be read without v.8, Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Note how it ends with God; which leads us directly to v.9 Who hath…  Some key points/biblical truths about found in verse 9:

      • It was God alone who saved us,
      • It was God alone who called us with a holy calling,
      • None of our works contributed in any way to our salvation
      • It was all according to His (God’s) own purpose
      • It was all according to His (God’s) own Grace,
      • This free gift was planned  in Christ Jesus before the world began
This verse makes it abundantly clear, as I have said many times, it is never about me and always about God.

What has God called you to do today? 

TODAY’S PRAYER

Thank You Father that You called me for a holy calling, according to Your purpose and great grace, which You granted me in Christ Jesus from all eternity. Let me never forget Faher, that You saved me and called me – not according to my own merit but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I pray I can live a life fulfilling the purpose you have set forth for me daily and I pray all this in Jesus’s name, AMEN.

Modified from: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Timothy/1/9


¹ MHCC

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/30/2020

Unshakeable | Clean Your Inner House - With Dr. Mary

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT: In this psalm of confidence (expressing faith in God), the psalmist trusts that God will preserve him in a time of distress. He begins by expressing his confidence in God, who he describes as his rock and salvation (vv. 1–2). He then addresses his enemies and describes their wickedness (vv. 3–4) before reiterating his trust in God (vv. 5–7). He encourages the congregation to put their trust in God as well (v. 8), warning them not to trust in people or in riches (vv. 9–10). The psalmist concludes by showing his confidence in God by noting God’s promises (vv. 11–12).   – FaithLife Study Bible 

v.6 He only is my rock and my salvation; My fortress and my defense, I will not be shaken or discouraged.  is basically a repeat of v.2. If you remember anything from school anytime a teacher repeated themselves it was usually important (and on a test). While this may not be testable in that sense it is very important. for David is making the declaration that there is only one true God and he has and will continue to put all his trust and confidence in Him alone. 

He only is my rock and my salvation. Alone, and without other help, God is the foundation and completion of my safety. We cannot too often hear the toll of that great bell only; let it ring the death knell of all carnal reliances, and lead us to cast ourselves on the bare arm of God. He is my defence. Not my defender only, but my actual protection. I am secure, because he is faithful. I shall not be moved –not even in the least degree. See how his confidence grows. In the second verse an adverb qualified his quiet; here, however, it is absolute; he altogether defies the rage of his adversaries, he will not stir an inch, nor be made to fear even in the smallest degree. A living faith grows; experience develops the spiritual muscles of the saint, and gives a manly force which our religious childhood has not yet reached. – C.H. Spurgeon

Reader, do not fail to remark how quickly the soul of the faithful returns again to the God of his confidence. We may spare a moment to admonish the ungodly, but our own joy must not be long broken in upon; we are to hold fast, and, like the dove of Noah, return back to the ark, even Christ Jesus, the sole joy of our salvation. And, Reader, do observe further, how the expressions of this holy confidence are repeated, and with every pleasing variety, that may denote the comfort of the heart. Pause, and ask yourself, Are such views of Christ, your views of him? Do you know him in those covenant characters? Is Jesus your rock, your salvation, your defense? – Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary Psalms 62 v.5-7

Devotional thought for Today – 10/31/2020

God is my Fortress – God Adventures

Psalm 18 

PRAISE AND REST


Most Bibles have a heading for this Psalm with a title something like; To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spoke the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said:….   This Psalm is in stark contrast to Psalm 11 we posted a few days ago when David was running for his life. Then he was seeking refuge and rest, now that he has it he is praising God for it.

It can be broken down this way:

v.1-3 blessing God for all he has done

v.4-19 declares the mercies God has shown

v.20-24 declares God’s righteousness

v.25-29 declares his joy in knowing the Lord helps the righteous

v.31–36  describes the defeat of his enemies

v. 37–42 describes his rising up over them

v. 43–45 Praises God for rescuing and exalting him

v. 46–50  and ends the psalm by proclaiming God’s faithfulness to the Davidic royal line

When those “difficult times” in life have past what is the first thing you do? I hope we can all be like David and find rest AFTER we Praise the Lord for v.32 equipping me with strength and made my way blameless.

 

 

Daily Devotional – Darkness Rather than Light

Edwards-Quote-Calvinism-You-Contribute-Nothing-To-Your-Salvation

INTRO:

As many of you know one of my life verses is John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

I had finished reading a few weeks before Jonathan Edwards classic Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.  It had shaken me to my core for I was just beginning to understand the true sovereignty of God.  My current studies had me in John Chapter 3 and at the about the same time I reached  v.16 a friend gave me a copy of John MacArthur’s book  Why One Way. These three writings forever changed my theology on man and God. I understood from from that time forward that the only thing natural man has to offer God is sin. 


20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:20-21

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

It is hard not to include v.16-18 as the set the pretext for our main text today.  Of course everyone, even most unbelievers know about John 3:16, God’s Love for the world and the Apostle Jon insures we understand just how much God loved us in v.17 and the requirements if you will to receive the free gift of that love in v.18.  All is good here folks love to speak about this “Good News”, God’s Love, the Joyful Union of God’s children. 

Then we get to the ugly stuff. In v.19 John makes it plain that man’s  sinful ways condemn him before a Holy God; for God did indeed send His only begotten Son (light) to save mankind but mankind prefers darkness and evil. 


BREAKDOWN:

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. –  No One likes to be called out for their wrongdoings whether those were intentional or accidental mistakes.  How much more so those who deny the Christ, who purposely do evil always try and hide from others but there is no hiding from God.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. – The exact opposite is true for those who practice righteousness. Their deeds are always open for public scrutiny because they are done for and with God’s help. 


APPLICATION: 

In my studies back in day, of these verses v19-21 I found that the  Greek word translated as “evil,” is phaula, which also means “worthless,” “base,” or “no good.”  Now I am not sure about you but the last thing I want to be called or even considered is a worthless no good person.  Yet that is exactly how God looks upon those who refuse His free gift of Grace, eternal Life through Christ Jesus. Their works, even if mankind looks upon them as ‘good” are worthless and no good in the kingdom of God. 

Unlike some who may not be converted, (saved) I was convinced I already was, this caused me as noted above, to reconsider my relationship with God. Was it all about me and satisfying my needs using God or as (I later learned) and the Westminster Shorter Catechism says :

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

a. Ps. 86:9. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. Isa. 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Rom. 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 1 Cor. 6:20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Cor. 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Rev. 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

b. Ps. 16:5–11. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Ps. 144:15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Isa. 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Luke 2:10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Phil. 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Rev. 21:3–4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

putting God first and not me. 

For those who are not believers, who think “Christianity” is a hoax may I suggest reading any one (or more of the following books: The 10 Best Books for Skeptics of Christianity. I have read #1,4,6 and 8 but all of them lead the reader to draw the own conclusions. Numbers 4 and 6 especially; were written by two men who set out to disprove the bible and “Christianity” as  basically nothing more than a crutch. What they found was so much more.