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Although it is today universally denied, young people, the truth of man’s total depravity is a basic truth of Scripture. God told Adam that if he would eat of the forbidden fruit he would die that very day. Paul, in Ephesians 2:1 tells the Ephesians that before God quickened them, that is, made them alive, they were dead. And he, and God when He spoke to Adam, meant spiritual death. Man became totally dead spiritually. And even as a dead man cannot see, hear, talk, walk or do anything physical, so man became in Adam spiritually incapable even of wanting salvation, believing in God, “accepting” a kind “offer” of salvation from God. Total is complete, one hundred percent. It means that Adam became absolutely spiritually dead the day he sinned by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And because he became spiritually dead, not merely weak or sick spiritually, all the children he brought forth and are now brought forth, come from their parents spiritually dead. They cannot even want to be saved from this spiritual incapability of doing anything pleasing in God’s sight. As we saw last time, except a man be born again, that he be given spiritual life, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven or want anything to do with it and its King. And, by God’s grace, our churches are among the few churches today that believe this truth and are truly Reformed in all our preaching and teaching.

We do well to bear in mind that not only do we read in Scripture that God chose all the members of the body of Christ. His Holy Catholic Church, but also that He, before the foundation of the world, determined to make these, and these only, “holy and without blame before Him”. Look up Ephesians 1:4 once again.

Denying this basic truth, there is an universally widespread doctrine concerning our salvation that insists that God chooses sinners, or if you will, elects them, after they accept Christ, and thus after spiritually dead men do perform a spiritual deed. God invites people, who cannot hear, cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven, have hearts that hate God and enjoy only that which God hates, to come and get a wonderful spiritual gift. They want an election in time, determined not by the sovereign, almighty God, but by a spiritually dead man. As Billy Graham states it: “You can be a born-again Christian, if you only ask for it.” In salvation man comes first according to most churches today. God wants to save. He sent His Son to make it possible; but He cannot do it and will not do it until we let Him do so. That doctrine insults the living God and does not render to Him the praise due to His name.

The truth we must maintain, and our prayer to God is that when you take our places as fathers and mothers, and some of you as elders and deacons in His church, you maintain the basic truth of Unconditional Election that Paul presents in Ephesians 1:4 in these words: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” That surely means that He chose us before we were born. We were not born before the foundation of the world, were we?

To defend themselves in this lie many churches say that this means that before the foundation of the world God foreknew who would accept, and therefore chose them. They will misinterpret Romans 8:29 where we read: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” But notice that Paul does not say that God foreknew their works. He foreknew certain people. He knew them in love in His eternal counsel. What is more, notice likewise that He predestinated them to be conformed to the image of His Son. That means that they come into this world as not conformed to the image of His Son. It means that in no way and to no degree do they, when they come into this life, conform to the image of Christ. Otherwise God would not have to conform them. It means that they teach that there is a spark of Christ’s life in them that God did not put there, or did not decide to eternally give to them until they produced it themselves because of the “invitation” in the “free offer”. Somehow, someway – and you can be sure the devil did not enable them — dead people manage to make themselves alive. It means, as we hear so much today, that spiritually dead men accept the offer and keep God from disappointments and from sending His Son for nothing to all that agony of hell that He suffered on His cross. It means that Christ did not die for certain, definite people but only to make it possible that dead men act, and earn salvation by that act, of accepting an invitation. They will deny that when you confront them with it. But a conditional theology, one that insists that there is a prerequisite that we have to fulfill before God will choose us and save and give us that which Christ earned, makes God dependent upon man. God is going to take a back seat. 0, He loves everybody in the world and wants to save them all, and that love is so great that He is willing to step down and let man decide whether or not he is going to be saved. That is not praising God but degrading Him in our speech. This simply means that in a very, very important and significant matter man rules God and can keep Him from getting done what He wants to have take place.

Remember and never let it slip from you that believing in Christ is an holy act. Believing is an holy act which we were chosen to perform, not one we performed and therefore were chosen. And again, how can an unholy person who died spiritually in Adam perform an holy act? How can an unholy person fulfill an holy condition, supply an holy prerequisite?

Now you may safely take the last two words of Ephesians 1:4 and add them to verse 5 so that we read: “. . . that we should be holy and without blame before Him. In love having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Yes, it was in His love that God chose us. And it is very important that we be before Him holy and without blame. This being before Him in holiness means also that we love Him. But what Paul has in mind here is not our love to God, but God’s love to us that predestinated us and chose us to be made holy and without blame in Christ. His love does not leave any possibility of those whom He loves not being saved, because they failed to do something. If He really loved us, and He did, He would not make our salvation a doubtful, risky and hopeless thing. The Arminian heresy does insult God and dishonors Him. Unconditional Election is the second of the Five Points of Calvinism. It is a truth we must hold to with all our strength.

There are conditions to our salvation; but they are conditions that God Himself fulfills. Christ did all the work. He paid for our sins. He performed the works of the law which we failed to begin to do. As far as man is concerned we must maintain that his salvation is unconditional. Deny that and we foolishly but also sinfully say that a dead man can do something. We deny total depravity. We say to God that He was mistaken when He told Adam that he would die THAT DAY that he sinned. We say to Paul that he was wrong, and we deny that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. For then Paul was wrong too, when he told the Ephesians that God quickened them, that is, gave them spiritual life. They really were not dead but only greatly incapacitated. Paul did not see things right and was not infallibly guided when he wrote that. Make total depravity mean every part of man but not every part completely; scoff at the idea that total means absolute; take the smallest part away from total to defend your conditional theology and maintain a sincere invitation of God in the hope that dead men will respond, and then you cannot maintain an unconditional election; but you must say that our salvation depends on what we do and not what God did and does and decided eternally. If election is unconditional, and it is, then believing is also unconditionally given to us. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4, we were chosen unto believing and not because we believed. Let us, young people, go back to that verse. God chose us so that we would become holy and without blame, not because we had a spark of holiness left and cannot be blamed for not “accepting” God’s offer, and of turning down His “invitation”.

Yes, we believed that there is a God. But the devil believes that too. But saving faith is that gift of God to us that causes us to put our trust in Him as our Saviour in Christ and His cross.

Denying Unconditional Election we deny that God saves us from unbelief, unholiness and guilt. Denying Unconditional Election we believe that we save ourselves. We by our own power save ourselves from not believing in Christ, and therefore God chooses to save us from our punishment. We save ourselves from unbelief and God saves us from what we deserve because of what we did before we changed our own hearts and we gave Him the green light to go ahead and save us. God then is not the Alpha, the beginning of our salvation, but only the Omega, the end of it. And then God lies to us when He says that He is the Alpha. Revelation 21:6. Faith is not His gift to us but our gift to Him. When Paul wrote the Ephesians that God quickened them because they were dead, the denial of Unconditional Theology teaches that both God and Paul come to us with an untruth.

Any doctrine that teaches that total depravity does not mean one-hundred- percent lack of spiritual life, an absolute incapacity to even want salvation from the power of sin, reveals that very depravity. One who cannot and will not say that fallen man can do nothing good in God’s sight, shows that he is depraved as far as this truth of God’s word is concerned. It shows that one dares to say that God was mistaken and did not speak the truth to Adam, or move Paul to speak the truth when he wrote Ephesians 2:1. That doctrine of conditional theology dares to oppose God. It claims to proclaim more fully and wonderfully God’s love to mankind than we as churches do. But actually, it performs an act of hatred against God. It is not love to God to say that He has to wait, and is limited as to how many He can save, by the will of a creature that depends upon Him for every breath of life. It is not love of God to say that He misspoke Himself to Adam and let Paul put in His holy word a lie.

No, young people, hold on to the truth of Scripture that God chose us in Adam before the foundation of the world, and chose to make us holy and without blame before Him. That means that we did have blame. It means that we were not holy. If there was something in us before God saved us, that made it possible for us to want to be saved, we had a spark of holiness, a good, holy desire. And because of this good, holy desire which we were able to produce and show, God chose to save us in Christ. That means that fallen man could give God something, and that he had something that God had not given him. Then we raise men above God. Man gives God something. God needs something that man has and has not been given him by God.

Let us instead render all the glory to God that is His. The truth of Unconditional Election does that. We sing that so beautifully in our Psalter versification of Psalm 139 with these words: (Psalter number 383:1.)

 

All that I am I owe to Thee,

Thy wisdom Lord has fashioned me;

I give my Maker thankful praise,

Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.

 

Our election we owe to God, and all our salvation, including our desire for it, is His gift to us. He chose to make us desire salvation and did not choose us because we brought to Him the desire for it. He is the Alpha, the beginning of ALL of our salvation.

They were neighbors.

In fact, they had lived next door to each other for over forty years.

It could be said that they got along quite well, even during those years when the children did the usual damage to lawns and gardens—and to an occasional window. They settled the quarrels of their children without becoming personally involved. Their respective pets, a dog and a cat, had various exciting confrontations; yet this did not spill over to build the barrier between them. In fact, neither one of them at any time even thought of building some kind of fence between their yards.

They did, however, carry on all these years a verbal battle—let us call it a controversy—in which neither one would budge an inch, and in which neither one could be said to have bested the other and to have run away with the victory.

You see, Mr. Noel was a science teacher in the local high school. He had a keen mind, was well-educated, and was wholly dedicated to his work. He lived in the fifteen-room house which his father had built; and he was living there as a college student when Mr. Adams bought the smaller house next door and moved in with his blushing bride. This being a university city, Mr. Noel was at home all through his years of education. And though his father died the year before Mr. Adams moved in next door, there was plenty of money for the full education of this only child. Upon finishing his education and upon obtaining this teaching position, Mr. Noel moved in with his attractive bride into the home where he had been living all these years with his mother. After all, a fifteen-room house of this type could accommodate three conveniently and give privacy. Mrs. Noel, Sr., died shortly after the second birthday of the first grandchild. And now Noel and Adams were family men living next door to each other.

Mr. Adams was a certified public accountant, a man quick with numbers, but a man also quick with his mind in other matters, possessing a clear and logical mind. He had always wanted to go to law school; and his ambition had been that of a trial lawyer. But there never were funds to make this possible; and he settled for his present position. He did delight in debate and did not hesitate to vie with his educated neighbor in this verbal battle, or contest, whatever you want to call it. In fact, they both seemed to enjoy these sessions of controversy, which they kept on a high level, never parting with any harsh words or ridicule of each other.

We must point out, however, that there was a tremendously important difference between these two men. Mr. Adams was a believer, and for years he served in an office in the church across the street and halfway up the block on the corner. He was not just a member. He was a very active and zealous member, never ashamed of defending the position of his church. Mr. Noel was an unbeliever and had never in his life entered a church to hear as much as a Sunday School lesson. His god was science; and he worshipped his god with a fervent devotion. His Sundays were spent out in the field, on some scientific research, or in sports. He was not a lazy man who would use that day to lie around and waste time. He was far too energetic for that.

Their verbal battlefield almost always was Darwinism, evolution, the origin of this world, and its development. But there was no victor in this “battle,” and really could not be because they could not agree on a common set of rules. Mr. Noel would not accept the Word of God; and Mr. Adams would not put stock in the “findings” of men who contradicted anything in Scripture. Mr. Adams often would appeal to the flood for his proof; but Mr. Noel would remind him that the Bible was nothing more than a beautiful piece of human literature. His “proof” was the words of men whose breath was in their nostrils, and who so often contradicted each other.

Mr. Adams, wishing to continue the debate that carried on through all these years, sought to undermine Mr. Noel’s claims by scientific reasoning. He did much research also to find scientists whose “findings” varied with those Mr. Noel held to and defended with all his ability. He tried in every way apart from quoting the Scriptures to show the impossibility of Mr. Noel’s position and theories about the universe and the origin of the creatures.

When Mr. Noel spoke so freely of the billions of years it took for this to form and that to happen, Mr. Adams would insist that a half-billion-year period of darkness would with its freezing, sub-zero cold kill off all life that had begun to form in the half-billion-year period of the lighted part of that day. But Mr. Noel would remind him that he was going back to Scripture which spoke of six days, and of an evening and a morning for each of these days. He, Mr. Noel, claimed no such one-day and one-evening period in that billion-year stretch of time when things began to evolve. He preferred a gradual warming up or cooling off through all the billions of years.

One argument that Mr. Adams kept bringing up did irk Mr. Noel and gave him trouble, even though he did not want to admit it. It was the question as to where that first cell, or that first gaseous vapor came from. From what did it evolve? Mr. Adams did note, though, a bit of hesitation, no matter how slight it was, in Mr. Noel’s defense and counter-question as to where his, Mr. Adams’, God came from.

Mr. Adams pressed his point at a later friendly session on the edge of their lawns and asked Mr. Noel whether it was really scientific to maintain that dead matter can produce life. Living matter dies. But what has science to show that dead matter can produce life? And that first cell, or gaseous vapor, that was there, how could it change without something else being there to feed it or to exert influence upon it? There must have been something more to feed that cell. There must have been something more to cool off or heat up that gaseous vapor.

Mr. Noel boasted of the latest achievements of science to create life in a test tube. But Mr. Adams pointed out that this was not a case of dead matter bringing forth life and that he, Mr. Noel, was overlooking the fact that living men were combining chemicals to produce what seemed to have life. And so the controversy went on from year to year, assuming different forms, but always about this difference of beliefs of the two men.

Shortly after one of the most heated discussions on this subject of dead matter moving toward life—and Mr. Noel did not like the way the matter was going—the funeral of Mrs. Adams was held in the corner church. Out of courtesy and sincere sympathy Mr. Noel went to the funeral service. The text was those words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:25,26, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” The pastor explained that the dead believer will rise again to glory. But he also took time to emphasize that there is a worse death than this physical death. He quoted Ephesians 2:1 to point out that there is also a spiritual death wherein people who are physically alive may be. He pointed out that God told Adam that the day he ate, he would die, and that this did happen. Adam died spiritually that day. And when Jesus says, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” He is not giving a promise to the believer that he will never die physically, but that the spiritually alive will never experience the eternal death of hell. The man who dies physically while spiritually dead dies hopelessly. The man who is spiritually alive when he dies physically shall never lose his spiritual life, nor enter the lake of fire.

Seeing Mr. Noel in the audience, the pastor “pulled out a couple of extra stops” and, looking right at him, stated, “The spiritually dead are not without hope as long as they still live physically. You still have a chance. Let God have His way with you. Tell Him right now that you want to become spiritually alive; and He will give that life to you. He will make you spiritually alive. Just ask Him. He is waiting.”

Even in the midst of his deep sorrow Mr. Adams was grateful for those words of the pastor to his neighbor and hoped that they were well received.

Days later, knowing that Mr. Adams was lonely, Mr. Noel went one evening to visit him, not intending to introduce their controversy. But Mr. Adams brought up the matter without really intending to do so. He began by thanking Mr. Noel for his presence and concern to take off from his teaching to attend the service. He added that he hoped that the message was well received by Mr. Noel.

Mr. Noel’s answer startled him so much that he jumped right out of his chair. “Adams,” he said, “I did not know that your pastor was an evolutionist, or I might have visited him long ago.” “He is not,” almost shouted the shocked Mr. Adams, “he and I both hold to the infallibility of the Bible, and believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be fact, undeniable fact. We both believe that God created all things in six successive days of twenty-four hours each.”

“Oh,” replied Mr. Noel, “I did not mean that he believes that the earth and the universe came into being by the process of evolution. I never heard him speak anything about that in the sermon. But I have my answer now to your question about dead matter producing life; and your pastor gave it to me. He told us that men are born spiritually dead but that they can become spiritually alive by an act of their own. He also spoke of a change of species: the sinner can change himself into a saint by an act of his dead will. The dead have in themselves the power to reach out for life.”

“Adams,” he said, “either admit that the Bible is fallible and that the man who wrote Genesis chose the wrong word and should have said, ‘God said, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt become very weak and sick’; and that the man—I believe it was Paul—who wrote that man is ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ should have been more careful and written that man is spiritually weak and sickly, and therefore he trespasses and sins; or tell your pastor to preach that dead matter cannot desire life and cannot make the movement unto life. Otherwise you are not consistent. You speak of creation by an almighty God; but in the realm of salvation you hold on to an evolutionistic process whereby the dead initiate the act toward life. You speak of a sovereign creator, but you also hold to a sovereign sinner who can hold off your sovereign savior. You teach that God calls all the creatures into being, but you also teach that spiritually dead creatures call God into the act of saving. I find it hard to follow, and very unscientific.”

Indeed, we must be consistent in our defense of the truth of creation. But consistency is also a precious jewel in our defense of the truth of salvation by grace, and as the work of a sovereign God Who creates us in Christ Jesus as HIS workmanship (Eph. 2:10), and does not wait for the spiritually dead sinner to step forward to obtain life. There is no more evolution in salvation than there is in creation.

A Psalter-Psalm Devotional of Praise to Our Sovereign Covenant God

Psalter devotionals were not available this month. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 July 1 Read Ephesians 2:1-5

We should bear in mind the fact that every husband and wife brings forth a child that by nature is spiritually dead. For God told Adam, that the day he committed his first sin, he would die. And that does not merely mean that he would die physically. He would, and did, die spiritually the moment he committed his first sin. Physical death came much later; but spiritual death came at once! And the awesome fact is that every descendant of a man and woman comes into being spiritually dead. But the comforting truth, in the text quoted above, is that God will make spiritually alive those whom He eternally chose, to be those for whom Christ would die. Here is a very, very comforting truth, presented by God, Who is rich in His mercy, and loves all those whom He chose in Christ.

July 2 Read Genesis 3:15.

Giving us spiritual life, God works enmity in us against Satan and sin. We do not change ourselves spiritually. We are changed by God’s grace. And we owe God thanks every minute of our new spiritual lives, for our hatred against Satan and sin, and for our love of God, quickened by His grace. As we read in Ephesians 2:5, God quickened us together with Christ. Satan got all the descendants of fallen Adam and Eve to walk in sin by nature. And the awesome question is whether we find in our lives that walk of love toward God. Are you sure that you were born again? Your walk will reveal whether God began spiritual life in you.

July 3 Read Psalm 139:14.

There are two truths which we must believe and maintain. As we read in Scripture, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God works upon us as His elect, in a most wonderful way. He performs marvellous works of grace upon us and in us. And it is because of this work of His grace that we have the comforting truth, which moves us to sing: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below.” Do you sing that with your heart, as well as with your mouth? Do you look forward to doing it so fully and constantly, when He brings you into His house on every Sabbath Day? Do you every day thank God for His gift of salvation? Or is your “worship of God” what you do on Sunday only?

July 4 Read I Corinthians 15:57.

In Scripture we read the comforting truth that God, being rich in His mercy and grace, gives His elect the victory, which brings them into heavenly blessedness. By nature we are born as spiritually dead. But our God causes every one of those, whom He chose in Christ, to be born with a spiritual life, and thus with heavenly blessedness. He causes every one of His elect to love Himself, and to find joy in serving Him. That truth we find in Ephesians 2:5. We, by God’s grace are quickened together with Christ, revealing His grace upon us. Do you sing a new song to Jehovah, and thank Him for the wonders He promises His elect?

July 5 Read Ephesians 2:6-10

In His grace God raises us up spiritually, already in this life; and He will, when Christ returns, both bring us with body and soul into that coming New Jerusalem. He saves us from all our guilt, but also from all our love of sin. We will be made to sit in heavenly places. And as Paul wrote it—that is, God wrote it through Paul—we will assuredly sit in heavenly places. This will be the gift of God’s grace, the gift Christ earned for us. Salvation is one hundred percent a gift of God’s grace. We do deserve everlasting punishment. But by His grace God saves us through faith, which is His gift unto us, and in no way is our gift to Him.

July 6 Read John 1:16.

Hold on tightly to the truth that in God’s fullness we receive grace for grace. What God does in His grace is what He does in His love and kindness, upon those who by nature deserve everlasting torment in hell! Bear in mind the awesome truth that, after they fell into their first sin, Adam and Eve deserved everlasting torment in hell! One’s sin calls for everlasting punishment. The comforting truth, therefore, is that God promised to deal graciously with all His elect. And He sent Christ Jesus, His Son, to blot out the guilt of those whom He eternally chose in Christ. Still more, He sent His Son to earn for us a blessed life, far higher than Adam and Eve had before they fell into sin. It will be an everlasting blessedness.

July 7 Read Psalm 23:1-3

The most precious gift for us is to have God as our Shepherd. That precious possession we lost through Adam and Eve. God told them that, if they would disobey Him, they would die. Look up Genesis 2:17. That did not merely mean that they would die physically. They died spiritually. And in His grace God told Satan that He would save those whom He had chosen in Christ. Upon that grace of God we depend. As we read in Ephesians 2:8 we are saved by grace. We are not saved by our own works, but by that which God does in His grace. Confess God, therefore, to be your Shepherd; and also therefore all of your salvation to be the gift of God’s grace. We, through Satan, earned everlasting torment. By God’s grace we have peace which we shall never lose.

July 8 Read Ephesians 2:11-16.

The awesome truth is that by God’s grace we are saved. The whole human race was by Satan caused to die spiritually. But by God’s grace some of the human race are saved through His Son, Who came into our flesh, without an earthly father, and thus without any guilt, and with no sinful nature, as we all do. Most of mankind are, and can properly be called, anti-Christian, that is “against Christ.” For they are without true faith and spiritual hope. And nothing that they hope for will come. Foolishly they may even commit suicide, thinking that they will escape misery. We, however, by God’s grace will enter into an everlasting blessed peace. Thank God for this promise.

July 9 Read Romans 8:24-25.

Whether we do from God, receive that precious gift of hope, which God gives to His elect, depends upon God’s eternal will. So often we do say “I hope so.” And we merely mean that we desire something we do not yet have. But the hope of the child of God, having been born again, is certain expectation. To hope is to wait with the assurance of its coming completely, and most assuredly. We hope for what Christ earned for us, and for what we are absolutely sure He will return with, for our everlasting enjoyment. Do you have that hope for salvation and all its blessedness? By grace we are saved through faith. By grace, are you saved by God’s gift of faith to you?

July 10 Read Matthew 27:35-37.

The basic truth, which we should hold on to tightly, is that Christ Jesus, our Saviour, realized salvation for us by His cross. He had no personal sins which called for His crucifixion. The unbelieving Jews accused Him of sin, and wanted Him to be crucified for their carnal joy. But He reconciled us to God by His cross, removing all our guilt, which calls for our everlasting punishment in hell. What a blessed, comforting truth! Christ died on His cross so that we not only need no cross, but will live with Christ in heavenly glory. Does that truth fill you with a blessed confidence and joy?

July 11 Read Ephesians 2:17-22.

The awesome question is not whether we heard a man preach the truth that Christ saves us from sins and punishment. That promise we have. But the awesome question is whether God speaks that truth in our hearts, and causes us to believe that truth, causing us to be born again spiritually, and whether we are thankful for that comforting truth. What is so absolutely necessary is that God causes our hearts—not merely our tongues—to say: “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, has fashioned me.” Yes, sing that comforting truth, presented in Psalter Number 383:1. In His grace God gave us that truth, and the joy that causes us to sing it.

July 12 Read Psalm 139:14.

God’s work, through His Son, Jesus Christ, is that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. That fearfulness is being full of awe and thankfulness for the salvation God began in us. Very correctly, every Sunday, God has His elect, who have been born again, sing: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” And, when we sing that, it must be the expression of our hearts, and not merely of our tongues and lips. Being fearfully and wonderfully made, we praise God, having Him in our hearts and minds, with a spiritual joy, which He implanted in us.

July 13 Read Acts 11:21-22.

Are you correctly called a Christian? You may be called that by fellow citizens; but the awesome question is whether God calls you that. In Ephesians 2:19 we do find that comforting truth, concerning some men. There we read: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” By His Spirit we are caused to be born again spiritually. And the important fact is whether He has made us to be such. The awesome question is whether God calls us to be citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven; and whether we are those, of whom it is hue, that we are those to whom God’s blessings flow; whether we truly are Christians.

July 14 Read II Corinthians 6:16.

Our God in this passage calls us to be His holy temple. Now the Old Testament temple was the place where God revealed Himself, and the saints had sweet communion with Him. As we read in Ephesians 2:22 the believers are “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” As those born again, we have sweet communion with God. The awesome question is whether we experience that communion, that is, have sweet communion with God. How often during the day do you have God, not only in your mind, but also in your heart? The question is not merely whether you have God in your mind. Is He in your heart? Are you a child of God, because He caused you to be born again, this time born spiritually? Do you eagerly go to Him in prayer, and thank Him for that which He gave you, and into which He led you? Or do you find fault in what He did for you? Do you go to sleep at night, confident that all is well, and working for your good?

July 15 Read Psalm 23.

A tremendously important fact and truth is presented to us by God through David, namely, that God is our Shepherd, taking care of us, and causing all things to work together for our good. Hold on tightly to that truth presented in the verses you read. Since God is our Shepherd, we have everything that happens as a blessing. We may have things that trouble our flesh. But do you believe that you lack nothing good that He sends upon you? There is much trouble for our flesh in this life. But are you convinced that God is your shepherd, and that He is, in love, taking care of you? Truly we want nothing in our lives, whereby God is not working it for our good. Sing that truth again: “All that I am I owe to Thee. Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.”

July 16 Read John 10:1-4.

Since God is our shepherd, we, every minute of our earthly lives get an experience which He, in His love and grace, brings upon us. As we read in I Peter 5:4 “When the chief shepherd shall come, and the sheep shall receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away.” Indeed, when Christ, the chief shepherd, appears, we shall receive that crown of glory, that never fadeth away. And we can be sure that nothing that happens to us in this life can or will prevent us from getting the glory which God promises us. He is the Almighty God; and no one can, and nothing can, keep us from the everlasting glory, which God promises us. He is the ALMIGHTY GOD, and no one, and nothing, can keep us one step from the glory which He promises His elect. He is THE SHEPHERD. He always was and always will be such.

July 17 Read Psalm 46:1.

All of mankind know what physical help we need. It is obvious that, regardless of how much money we have, we are on the way to death, and the loss of all our earthly possessions. We all have troubles, as the Psalmist here declares. But the child of God is here assured that every child of God has refuge and strength. As we noted in Psalm 23, David very correctly states that the Lord is our Shepherd; and therefore we want nothing that is not good, but only what brings us blessings. Get that wonderful truth. We want nothing. Having God as our Saviour all is well, for He has all things under His control, and loves every one of His elect. Do you know God as your shepherd? He is almighty, and constantly faithful in fulfilling all His promises. Read Psalm 130:7-8.

July 18 Read Psalm 116:8.

The awesome question is not whether God has already restored our bodies. Indeed He promises to do so, and will give us that blessing. But the question is whether He is pleased to deliver our souls from spiritual death, which we have at birth, because Adam and Eve were brought by Satan into spiritual death. But it pleases God to save the lives of every one of His elect, and that already in this life. Having our souls saved from spiritual death, we shall be saved with body, as well as soul, when Christ returns. Take hold of that blessed comforting truth presented in Psalm 116:9. There we read: “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” We, by God’s grace, will live in the New Jerusalem, when it comes.

July 19 Read Psalm 34:10.

The basic element of our salvation is that God restores our souls in this life. Yes, He will restore our bodies when Christ returns. But we need to have our souls restored in this life. Hold on tightly to that truth in Psalm 23. The Lord is—not will become—our Shepherd, and we His sheep. Do you know any earthly sheep, that decided who his parents would be? Do you however believe that you are God’s sheep? Are you not only aware of, but rejoicing in that blessed truth that you are one of God’s sheep? He brought you into being as one of His sheep. And He also causes every one of these sheep to know, and rejoice in the truth that he is one of God’s sheep. Praise Him then for this blessed gift.

July 20 Read Psalm 130:1-8.

As pointed out before, we hope for everything that God promises His elect and that will be fulfilled. Now to hope is not merely to desire. To hope for what God promises us is to be convinced that He will give it to us. In fact to hope is to expect. By God’s grace we expect what He promises. He is not dependent on our acceptance. We depend upon His work of causing us to desire, with absolute assurance that He will give it to us, causing it to become ours. Do we not read in Psalm 23:1 that, because God is our shepherd, we will not lack what we need? Even though we walk through the valley where the shadow of death falls, as believers we are absolutely sure that every part of God’s promise will be fulfilled. We wait for what God promises us because He is God, the Almighty Father Who loves His elect.

July 21 Read Revelation 21:1-4.

As we are taught, and as we considered a few days ago, we, as those God eternally chose, are confident that we will dwell with God eternally in the New Jerusalem. By God’s grace we are absolutely sure that God will wipe away all the tears of our eyes, and that we shall dwell with God in that coming Kingdom of Heaven. We shall, with body as well as soul, be closer to God than the holy angels, who are now with Him in heaven. God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes. He will raise us up above all the angels that have been with Him in heaven since the week He created all things. What a blessing lies ahead for all the elect. What a gift for which we should and will be thankful, praising God’s Name, from Whom all blessings flow.

July 22 Read Romans 8:1-4.

What was not, the day Adam and Eve were created, now is today; and it calls for every child of God to sing His praises, because of its truth and blessedness. Adam and Eve had no guilt, as created, but they were condemned because of their sin. They had a blessed, pleasing life, knowing God and walking in their love toward Him. But Satan came as a subtle enemy, hating God, and wanting Adam and Eve also to hate Him. He did get them to hate God and in it to sin against Him. And the awesome question we should ask is whether we listen to Satan, and walk in hatred against God. Are we living according to our flesh? We should get down on our knees, and pray to God for strength to live in love toward Him. Our calling is to fight against sin; and the lie of Satan, which gets man to believe; and the evil wherein to walk.

July 23 Read Romans 8:5.

What a blessed truth we find here. Minding the things of the Spirit is walking in love of and toward God. Sad to say, however, we still do have sin in our hearts and minds. Satan is controlling us in sinful ways, revealing hatred of God, rather than love of Him. But by God’s grace we, as born again children of God, must examine our hearts and minds, and pray to God for hatred of sin, and for love toward Him. Our calling is to pray to God for spiritual help, and for the guidance of His Spirit into ways of love toward Him. That we must not do simply and merely on Sunday, but every day from the moment that we wake up. Our calling is to pray for God’s Spirit to make us want and seek spiritual purity. Do you do so the minute that you awake in the morning?

July 24 Read Romans 8:6.

Get that blessed truth, and hold on tightly to it. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. Do you want peace with God? No, the question is not merely whether you want God to deal with you peacefully. Do you want your heart to love God and peacefully walk, every day and every moment, loving God and keeping His commandments? Do you simply want salvation in the sense of escape from the punishment which you deserve? The question surely is whether you want to walk in love of God. We were created in order to walk in such love of God. But Satan got all of us to be spiritually dead, in the sense that we did not love God, but hating Him walk and live against Him in all our thinking and willing. Do you want to be spiritually minded, and walk in love toward God every day, and every minute of every day?

July 25 Read Romans 8:14

What an awesome and significant truth our God presents here through the Apostle Paul. Absolutely every bit of our salvation depends upon God, and was designed by God, before we were born. Yes, when salvation begins in us, it is because God began it in us in His grace. We did not think and will any part of salvation until God began that thinking and willing in us. Satan got Adam and Eve, and also all their descendants, to be his sons and daughters. Our thankfulness, for every bit of salvation, is God’s work upon all of us, and for all our knowledge of having been chosen unto it by God. Indeed we must be thankful for being given thanks for that salvation. God owes us nothing. We owe Him thanks for every bit of our salvation, and for our desire for it. We are led by the Spirit of God unto all proper thankfulness.

July 26Read Romans 8:24-25.

That we hope to be saved means that we depend upon God for this desire as well as for the beginning of it. We must hold on tightly to the truth that we owe God thanks, for the desire for salvation as well as the salvation itself. We are not saved because we hope for it. We are thankful for it, because we believe that all that we are, we owe to God. As pointed out before: “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.” By nature we do not see that salvation and hope for it. The Spirit makes us groan for salvation. Absolutely every part of our salvation is God’s gift to us. Not simply on Sunday, and in church, but every day we should with our hearts sing praise to God, from Whom all our blessings flow. Do you have that thankfulness every day, and say it in your prayers?

July 27 Read Romans 8:28.

Here we have a most wonderful and comforting truth concerning our salvation. When God begins salvation in us He causes us to know that all things work together for good in us. All that happens is not going to please our flesh; and to die is to remove us from all our earthly possessions. But the blessed and comforting truth is that sickness and death work together for our good, in the sense that we are going to be with God in the blessed life of peace and holiness. We will be freed completely from Satan and sin; and we shall have sweet communion with God. Take hold then of that blessed truth in the verse read. All things shall work together, so that we have sweet communion with God in His house of many mansions. A sweeter gift there is not for us.

July 28 Romans 8:29-31.

Here we have a most blessed and comforting truth. All things have worked together for our good. We reach the blessedness which God predestinated us to receive. Find comfort in the truth that all this blessedness is absolutely sure, because the almighty, unchangeable God has promised it, but also begun it. Find comfort also in the truth that, through His Son, God has already realized such blessedness of body and soul. Hold on tightly also to the truth that our God Who promises this blessedness is the almighty, unchangeable God. No one and nothing can stop Him from fulfilling all His promises. And as the I AM, He will not change His mind or will. He will not turn against us, but turn us completely, as our God and Father. He spared not His own Son; and will most assuredly not spare us everlasting blessedness.

July 29 Read Romans 8:32.

A truth which we should maintain, and never brush aside, is that God freely gives us all the elements of our salvation. We must believe that, if we are going to enjoy our salvation. But believing that is only part of our salvation. We do not buy salvation, or get it because of what we do. We buy absolutely nothing from God. He gives us all of salvation, and as we read the other day, we are wonderfully and fearfully made. Faith is one hundred percent a gift of God’s grace. As we read in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, faith is the gift of God’s grace. It is not something that we give to God. It is that which God begins and gives to His elect. We owe God thanks for working faith in us. As we correctly sing: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.”

July 30 Read Romans 8:35.

The awesome, blessed truth is that the salvation God has begun in us shall never leave us. Satan is trying very hard, by men and false doctrines, to get us against God, rather than to walk with Him in the love which He gave us. Get that truth, and hold on to it tightly: Neither we, nor Satan and his evil soldiers, can take from us the salvation which God began in us. Just look up Psalm 48:1. There we read: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, on the mountain of His holiness.” Sing then with your heart as well as with your mouth: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” Having salvation begun in us, we will look for its coming fullness.

July 31 Read Romans 8:38-39.

What a blessed, comforting truth do we find here! Nothing and no one shall separate us from God and His grace. Bear in mind that the name Jehovah means I AM. There is absolutely no change taking place in Him. We, nor Satan, nor any fallen angels can change God’s mind and will. He fulfills perfectly every part of His eternal counsel. Remember that every day, and never question what God causes to take place. Never doubt His promises. He is the I AM, and rightly we sing: “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom Lord, hath fashioned me.” Sing that in your heart, and you will cause your body to walk in love toward Him. Look forward to the day when He fulfills all His promises concerning our salvation. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.

 

 

* Reprinted from the Standard Bearer, vol. 47, pp. 255- 257.

 They were neighbors.

In fact, they had lived next door to each other for over forty years.

It could be said that they got along quite well, even during those years when the children did the usual damage to lawns and gardens—and to an occasional window. They settled the quarrels of their children without becoming personally involved. Their respective pets, a dog and a cat, had various exciting confrontations; yet this did not spill over to build the barrier between them. In fact, neither one of them at any time even thought of building some kind of fence between their yards.

They did, however, carry on all these years a verbal battle—let us call it a controversy—in which neither one would budge an inch, and in which neither one could be said to have bested the other and to have run away with the victory.

You see, Mr. Noel was a science teacher in the local high school. He had a keen mind, was well-educated, and was wholly dedicated to his work. He lived in the fifteen-room house which his father had built; and he was living there as a college student when Mr. Adams bought the smaller house next door and moved in with his blushing bride. This being a university city, Mr. Noel was at home all through his years of education. And though his father died the year before Mr. Adams moved in next door, there was plenty of money for the full education of this only child. Upon finishing his education and upon obtaining this teaching position, Mr. Noel moved in with his attractive bride into the home where he had been living all these years with his mother. After all, a fifteen-room house of this type could accommodate three conveniently and give privacy. Mrs. Noel, Sr., died shortly after the second birthday of the first grandchild. And now Noel and Adams were family men living next door to each other.

Mr. Adams was a certified public accountant, a man quick with numbers, but a man also quick with his mind in other matters, possessing a clear and logical mind. He had always wanted to go to law school; and his ambition had been that of a trial lawyer. But there never were funds to make this possible; and he settled for his present position. He did delight in debate and did not hesitate to vie with his educated neighbour in this verbal battle, or contest, whatever you want to call it. In fact, they both seemed to enjoy these sessions of controversy, which they kept on a high level, never parting with any harsh words or ridicule of each other.

We must point out, however, that there was a tremendously important difference between these two men. Mr. Adams was a believer, and for years he served in an office in the church across the street and halfway up the block on the comer. He was not just a member. He was a very active and zealous member, never ashamed of defending the position of his church. Mr. Noel was an unbeliever and had never in his life entered a church to hear as much as a Sunday School lesson. His god was science; and he worshipped his god with a fervent devotion. His Sundays were spent out in the field, on some scientific research, or in sports. He was not a lazy man who would use that day to lie around and waste time. He was far too energetic for that.

Their verbal battlefield almost always was Darwinism, evolution, the origin of this world, and its development. But there was not a victor in this “battle,” and really could not be because they could not agree on a common set of rules. Mr. Noel would not accept the Word of God; and Mr. Adams would not put stock in the “findings” of men who contradicted anything in Scripture. Mr. Adams often would appeal to the flood for his proof; but Mr. Noel would remind him that the Bible was nothing more than a beautiful piece of human literature. His “proof’ was the words of men whose breath was in their nostrils, and who so often contradicted each other.

Mr. Adams, wishing to continue the debate that carried on through all these years, sought to undermine Mr. Noel’s claims by scientific reasoning. He did much research also to find scientists whose “findings” varied with those Mr. Noel held to and defended with all his ability. He tried in every way apart from quoting the Scriptures to show the impossibility of Mr. Noel’s position and theories about the universe and the origin of the creatures.

When Mr. Noel spoke so freely of the billions of years it took for this to form and that to happen, Mr. Adams would insist that a half-billion-year period of darkness would with its freezing, sub-zero cold kill off all life that had begun to form in the half-billion-year period of the lighted part of that day. But Mr. Noel would remind him that he was going back to Scripture which spoke of six days, and of an evening and a morning for each of these days. He, Mr. Noel, claimed no such one- day and one-evening period in that billion-year stretch of time when things began to evolve. He preferred a gradual warming up or cooling off through all the billions of years.

One argument that Mr. Adams kept bringing up did irk Mr. Noel and gave him trouble, even though he did not want to admit it. It was the question as to where that first cell, or that first gaseous vapour came from. From what did it evolve? Mr. Adams did note, though, a bit of hesitation, no matter how slight it was, in Mr. Noel’s defense and counter-question as to where his, Mr. Adams’, God came from.

Mr. Adams pressed his point at a later friendly session on the edge of their lawns and asked Mr. Noel whether it was really scientific to maintain that dead matter can produce life. Living matter dies. But what has science to show that dead matter can produce life? And that first cell, or gaseous vapour, that was there, how could it change without something else being there to feed it or to exert influence upon it? There must have been something more to feed that cell. There must have been something more to cool off or heat up that gaseous vapor.

Mr. Noel boasted of the latest achievements of science to create life in a test tube. But Mr. Adams pointed out that this was not a case of dead matter bringing forth life and that he, Mr. Noel, was overlooking the fact that living men were combining chemicals to produce what seemed to have life. And so the controversy went on from year to year, assuming different forms, but always about this difference of beliefs of the two men.

Shortly after one of the most heated discussions on this subject of dead matter moving toward life—and Mr. Noel did not like the way the matter was going—the funeral of Mrs. Adams was held in the corner church. Out of courtesy and sincere sympathy Mr. Noel went to the funeral service. The text was those words of Jesus to Martha in John 11:25,26, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” The pastor explained that the dead believer will rise again to glory. But he also took time to emphasize that there is a worse death than this physical death. He quoted Ephesians 2:1 to point out that there is also a spiritual death wherein people who are physically alive may be. He pointed out that God told Adam that the day he ate, he would die, and that this did happen. Adam died spiritually that day. And when Jesus says, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” He is not giving a promise to the believer that he will never die physically, but that the spiritually alive will never experience the eternal death of hell. The man who dies physically while spiritually dead dies hopelessly. The man who is spiritually alive when he dies physically shall never lose his spiritual life, nor enter the lake of fire.

Seeing Mr. Noel in the audience, the pastor “pulled out a couple of extra stops” and, looking right at him, stated, “The spiritually dead are not without hope as long as they still live physically. You still have a chance. Let God have His way with you. Tell Him right now that you want to become spiritually alive; and He will give that life to you. He will make you spiritually alive. Just ask Him. He is waiting.”

Even in the midst of his deep sorrow Mr. Adams was grateful for those words of the pastor to his neighbor and hoped that they were well received.

Days later, knowing that Mr. Adams was lonely, Mr. Noel went one evening to visit him, not intending to introduce their controversy. But Mr. Adams brought up the matter without really intending to do so. He began by thanking Mr. Noel for his presence and concern to take off from his teaching to attend the service. He added that he hoped that the message was well received by Mr. Noel.

Mr. Noel’s answer startled him so much that he jumped right out of his chair. “Adams,” he said, “I did not know that your pastor was an evolutionist, or I might have visited him long ago.” “He is not,” almost shouted the shocked Mr. Adams, “he and I both hold to the infallibility of the Bible, and believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be fact, undeniable fact. We both believe that God created all things in six successive days of twenty-four hours each.”

“O,” replied Mr. Noel, “I did not mean that he believes that the earth and the universe came into being by the process of evolution. I never heard him speak anything about that in the sermon. But I have my answer now to your question about dead matter producing life; and your pastor gave it to me. He told us that men are born spiritually dead but that they can become spiritually alive by an act of their own. He also spoke of a change of species: the sinner can change himself into a saint by an act of his dead will. The dead have in themselves the power to reach out for life.”

“Adams,” he said, “either admit that the Bible is fallible and that the man who wrote Genesis chose the wrong word and should have said, ‘God said, In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt become very weak and sick’; and that the man—I believe it was Paul—who wrote that man is ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ should have been more careful and written that man is spiritually weak and sickly, and therefore he trespasses and sins; or tell your pastor to preach that dead matter cannot desire life and cannot make the movement unto life. Otherwise you are not consistent. You speak of creation by an almighty God; but in the realm of salvation you hold on to an evolutionistic process whereby the dead initiate the act toward life. You speak of a sovereign creator, but you also hold to a sovereign sinner who can hold off your sovereign saviour. You teach that God calls all the creatures into being, but you also teach that spiritually dead creatures call God into the act of saving. I find it hard to follow, and very unscientific.”

Indeed, we must be consistent in our defense of the truth of creation. But consistency is also a precious jewel in our defense of the truth of salvation by grace, and as the work of a sovereign God Who creates us in Christ Jesus as HIS workmanship (Eph. 2:10), and does not wait for the spiritually dead sinner to step forward to obtain life. There is no more evolution in salvation than there is in creation. ♦

Reprint from the Standard Bearer vol. 29, pp. 277-278.

 By the addition of only one letter to the word “heave” we get the entirely different “heaven.” What a tremendous difference in meaning there is between those two words! And by adding the three short words, “unto the Lord,” to our theme of the last installment in this department we get an entirely different concept also.

To say, “I will sing,” is to give expression to an activity which is very common among men. To add the three words above and say, “I will sing unto the Lord,” does not merely express to whom it is that we are directing our song, it also limits very severely the contents and the manner of our singing.

If we are talented and gifted with a pleasing voice, it may safely be said that our singing is and has been chiefly unto men. If our training has been negligible, our talent a bare minimum and the tonal quality of our singing very distasteful to others, it is safe to say even then that our singing has been and is chiefly unto man. Whether we sing merely for the entertainment of men, or whether we sing merely for our own personal enjoyment, we have missed the point, we have missed the mark (which is literally the meaning of one of Scripture’s words for sin) and are as the man in the parable of the talents who went and hid his talent in the ground rather than to put it in use for his master.

Indeed, we may sing before men. If the Almighty has given you talents above other men, He has given them to you for these others. He has given them to you that you may lead them in the enjoyment of what wonderful things the Almighty has made for His own glory. And He has given them to you that through and with you they may then praise God for all that which He has done both in the realm of the natural and in the realm of the spiritual.

Psalm 19 is beautiful in this respect. Even a rather superficial examination of the Psalm will show you that the psalmist speaks of God’s praises in both the realm of the natural and of the spiritual. Beginning with the glory of God displayed in the works of His hands, in the extent of creation as man from his position on the earth can see it, he than turns our attention to the spiritual in God’s word and law. There is no spot where they do not speak of the praise of God. And upon this earth, where the law and word of God has been spoken by God Himself, His glory shines forth in the spiritual works of His hands. Therefore the psalmist being awed and humbled by the Spirit, cries out that the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart may be acceptable to that great God Who is his strength and redeemer.

Can you pray that before you sing? Singing, surely has to do with the words of your mouth. Singing must come forth as the expression of that murmuring, that meditation of your heart. And when you have finished your song, you are confident that both the words and the motive were acceptable to God? You rejoiced not in the praise of men but in that you praised God and led others in the contemplation of His wonderful praised?

I will sing unto the Lord! That is a lofty resolve! It is the only proper resolve! It is the resolve of a regenerated heart. The world sings purely for entertainment. And it sings of all the evil and filth that resides in its heart. It sings its atheism. It sings its rebellion against the living God. It sings its unbelief, its superstition, its godless philosophies, its adultery and immorality, the latter both by words and rhythm!

And a regenerated child of God can revel in it? It becomes increasingly difficult to get away from it! With that miserable junk box in every restaurant, with every radio and television dealer demonstrating his wares, it is well nigh impossible to get away from the songs of the world. But you do not bring them home or let your children do so, do you? WHAT? You let the unbeliever, the immoral world, the atheist, the antichristian elements of the human race befoul your home? Still more you let them spill their garbage and filth into your mind and soul? Go stand with the psalmist and pray that the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart may be acceptable to God! If it is a narrow-minded view to take such a stand against the world and its songs of unbelief and godless levity, then let it be narrow-minded. It IS Scriptural. And let us not be broader-minded than God! Remember that His judgment is narrow, and His judgment is final and determinitive!

It is, perhaps, a little too obvious to be mentioned, but it certainly is true that much of that which passes today for singing by the world is only by the greatest stretch of the imagination even to be classed as music. The coarser a woman’s voice is, the rougher and more boldly she may sing her suggestive songs, the higher her praise and hone among the ungodly. Indeed, we said a moment ago that one can hardly get away from such trash! You hear enough, even though you seek to avoid it, to turn your stomach. And the sad thing is that we all too soon become hardened even to it. Hence these articles awaken us out of our sleep and drifting in the world and with the world. And if the psalmist said, as he did, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable, then certainly he means also by his prayer that his ears may be open only to that which is to the praise of God. For the meditation of his heart will surely be influenced by what he hears. Remember Eve! Her whole heart and life were put in reverse when she received through her ears and into her heart that which was not praise to God but the lie upon which all this present unbelief, atheism, philosophy, evil thinking and corruption rests.

And how many of the songs of Zion do you and your children know? The songs of the world are ringing in your ears all day long. You hum and sing them at work. Perhaps you sing them along with the ungodly man at the bench next to you or at the next counter. But do you and your children ever sing the songs of Zion outside of Divine services? Have you ever caught yourself humming or whistling the tune of a hymn only to check yourself when you realized that it would give you away as a believer? Shame on you! But if this never was your experience, can you and do you sing the songs of Zion at your work? Do you find such delight and joy in their truth? Does your heart so murmur with these spiritual truths that you enjoy singing them even before the unbeliever?

Another thing, are you tired of singing the same spiritual songs over and over again? Are you, perhaps, clamoring for a manual of praise with more than versification of the Psalms? Is it, perhaps, so with you that you desire some new tunes? Room for that there surely is, not only because tunes themselves become tiring after repeated use, but also because tunes are not always appropriate for the sentiment expressed in words of the song. But let us be on our guard, lest it be the words which tire us. Let us be sure that the truth which is expressed in the song does not become so wearisome to us that it is for that reason that we clamor for a change. It is impossible that a child of God who desires to sing to the Lord would become weary of the truth expressed in the Psalms. And if we are always avoiding the Psalms to sing hymns, which are not the versification of the Scriptures but the versifications of man’s opinions of the Word of God and of his spiritual (?) experiences, we may well ask ourselves whether our singing is to the Lord or to men.

Many of our modem hymns are chosen and sung exactly for their tune, harmony and rhythm and for NO other reason. Take such an unspiritual Negro spiritual as “On the Jericho Road.” Who will deny that it has a lilting rhythm and “catchy” tune? But where is there anything spiritual in it? Where does Scripture attach any spiritual significance to the Jericho road? What praise to God does the whole song utter? The same may be said of, “Roll, Jordan, Roll!” And what Arminianism is there not expressed in such a hymn (shall we call it a hymn?) as “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” The Scriptures declare that our names were written down in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world. The Scriptures teach sovereign and eternal ELECTION and firmly deny that in time new names are written down. And yet many Reformed circles, which profess to believe in the Scriptures and the Reformed confessions, enjoy such a song that militates against the word of God. You cannot sing that song unto the Lord! You can sing it unto man, and man will love it because it ascribes something to him that rightfully belongs only to God. And then you also have such superficial, sacrilegious expressions in what passes today for hymns as the statement that we will “shake Jesus’ hand” and say, “Hello” to Him, or that in heaven we want to “See my Saviour first.” What will we want to see afterward?… We could continue and continue, but put yourself before the question, Do I sing unto the Lord or unto men? ♦

Reprinted from Daily Meditations for Spiritual Comfort by Rev. John A. Heys, minister emeritus from the Protestant Reformed Churches

December 1

THAT MOST PRECIOUS GIFT Although the world is full of people who look forward to celebrating Christmas, that does not mean that they all are Christians. For many it is not Christ’s coming into our flesh that interests them. They are interested in one whom they call Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, or merely in worldly gifts. It is not the gift that Christ brought us that interests them. Rather, it is the lust of the flesh, of the eyes, and of the pride of life that fills them with joy on Christmas Day.

As Christians, however, we should, from now until the day the believers celebrate Christmas, consider more deeply what He earned for us and presents to us in God’s grace. To prepare us for that day, and to deepen our appreciation of what He did and does for us, we should listen to what our God gave us through Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophets.

Today let us note this glorious truth: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1, 2).

Let us note first of all that Christmas is a day of blessedness only for God’s children, for believers to whom He gives a new spiritual life. Let us also take note of the fact that it is not a day wherein we are to celebrate what men give unto us, but a day to rejoice with thanksgiving in what God gives us through His Son; and what He TOOK AWAY from us, namely our guilt and unholiness!

By all means have that wonderful gift and work of God before your mind now, as we approach the day of Christ’s birth, but also on that day when we celebrate His coming in our flesh for our salvation. Salvation is a most wonderful gift of God’s grace. We are going to lose every gift that man gives unto us; but rejoice in God’s everlasting gift of love, mercy, and grace. Read: Isaiah 40:1-8.

 

December 2

OUR ALMIGHTY SAVIOR’S COMING Having yesterday considered our calling to look forward to our celebration of God’s wonderful gift to us, namely, His Son, and through Him salvation, we should today go a step further into this rich truth.

In Isaiah 40:10 we read, “Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him; behold his reward is with him, and his work before him.” Here we have a very comforting truth in regard to our Savior’s birth. He came with a strong arm and hand, which will fulfill all God’s promises to us—from the promise He gave us the day we fell into sin, onward to those in the book of Revelation. He will crush the head of Satan and his hosts through the crushing of His heel on the cross. The victory for us is absolutely sure!

This is true because, as Isaiah presented it, when Christ suffers on His cross it is God, as He came into our flesh, Who is realizing salvation for us. Christ is the second Person in the Holy Trinity Who died in His human nature, in order that we may be raised to heavenly glory through Him. He came, not as the strongest man, but as the almighty God. The strongest man, Adam, could not stand before Satan. He fell. But the almighty God came in our flesh to save us fully by His strong hand and arm. He Who is the I AM, realized for us what we will be everlastingly. We must say, “I will do this or that, if God gives me strength.” He, the I AM, depends on no one and nothing. Indeed, all things depend upon Him. We have an almighty Savior.

What a blessed gift our Savior is! How wonderful it is that we have the almighty God as our Savior, the Savior before Whom Satan and all his host of fallen angels and ungodly men cannot stand! Our salvation is sure because our almighty Savior came and is realizing our salvation in all that which is taking place in the world. Read: John 14:1-11.

 

December 3

OUR CERTAIN AND ALMIGHTY PROTECTION Salvation is sure because our Savior is the almighty God come into our flesh, and come to represent us and bring us out of our guilt, our evil nature, and our death and into everlasting life and heavenly glory. Christ, Whose birthday is approaching, will take good care of us and bring us to the glory which God has promised us. This is pictured beautifully in Isaiah 40:11, where we find these comforting words: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

The comforting truth here is that He loves us. All that which we read here tells us that truth, revealing how greatly He loves us and cares for us. All that which we read here tells us that He will give us everything that we need to reach the heavenly glory that God promised us. As our shepherd He will feed us, bring us what we need, and supply us every day with the necessities of our life. He loves us. This is manifested also in the tender care and protection that we receive from His hand. The shepherd pictured here reveals that so clearly in gathering the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, gently leading those with young. We have almighty and wonderful protection from all our enemies, and the tender loving care of an almighty Savior.

No creature needs protection as much as does a sheep, which cannot fight against the wolves, bears, and lions. No animal needs to be led to green pastures as does a sheep. Our shepherd does this for us. On the day we celebrate His birth we are called not only to rejoice, but also to praise God for having sent Him Who earned our salvation by His suffering and death. Satan and the antichristian world cannot keep us from the glory God promised in our Savior. Be confident that He has you in His bosom and is coming back to fulfill all God’s promises to us. Read: Psalm 23.

 

December 4

A SONG FOR EVERY DAY Days and weeks before the day man calls “Christmas” arrives, there are songs sung which afterward are set aside for months. They are called “Christmas carols,” some of which do sing about Christ and His birth. Some are beautiful, with truths that express Christ as our Savior, and have very pleasing music. Some reveal absolutely no thought about Him and our salvation.

But we had better take a firm hold on what God declares in Isaiah 42:10. There God Himself calls us to “Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.” That song we must sing all through life, and not merely a few days before what we call Christmas.

The world sings it because it enjoys the music, not because of the truth presented in these songs. They sing them to please men, not to praise God. We do well to heed this word of God that we sing unto the Lord a new song, a song of praise to God. We may sing before men, as a choir, or as a soloist. But by all means sing unto the Lord. And let us sing it from the heart, not merely from the mouth. Let us sing God’s praises, and not sing to get man’s praises directed to us for having sung those words with that music.

That song must be a new song. It must not be the old songs the flesh of man sings because of delight in music. Since God sent His Son to save us there is a new song, a song of redemption, a song of God’s grace and tender mercy upon those whom He chose in Christ.

Can we, after we celebrate the birth of Christ, forget what He did for us? If His birth means a little to us for only a short period of time in the year, His cross and the salvation which He realized for us will also be a superficial and temporary thing.

Let us every day, in our hearts, sing a new song to Jehovah, for the wonders He has wrought. Read: Psalm 98.

December 5

CREATED FOR GOD’S GLORY What is coming in the future is frightening, unless we know and believe Who, not simply what, is coming. Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse places, and the cruel reign of the Antichrist are coming soon, according to what our God tells us in His Word. But the Christian is looking for Christ to come.

And on what the world calls Christmas (but for us is Christ’s birthday, and not a mass which we celebrate) we will rejoice, because Christ came and is using all things to bring about the day when we shall enter His kingdom with body as well as soul. Our God, in Isaiah 43:7, declares that He has redeemed us, “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” This refers to those who in verse 6 are called His sons and daugh­ters.

Today these sons and daughters are called Christians, which means not only that they belong to Christ, but that they are spiritually like Him. Only such should be called Christians. And when in a few days we celebrate His birthday, we must not overlook the fact that He, the Son of God, causes us to be the children of God. Only such may be called Christians, for only they belong to Christ as members of His body, the church.

We should, on the day we celebrate His birth, but also every day in our lives, reveal that truth that we were created through Christ to God’s glory. Yes, by His cross He saved us from our guilt and punishment. But He also by His Spirit re-creates us so that we may and do glorify God. On the day called Christmas we should celebrate Christ’s coming as that work of God’s grace whereby He causes us to be those who glorify Him consciously and willingly.

That is a wonderful gift which God gives us. What a blessed truth! Our glory is that we were made capable of glorifying God. That will be our wonderful life when Christ returns. Read: Isaiah 43:1-7.

 

December 6

OUR POWERFUL REDEEMER Let us take hold of the truth which we find in Isaiah 47:4. And let us confess it with our lips, but also by our whole walk of life.

There we read, “As for our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.” Now, plainly, our God is here speaking through Isaiah of Jesus Christ our Savior. For He is our Redeemer. He bought us out of our guilty state, and caused us to be freed from the everlasting punishment which we deserve. He brought us back to covenant fellowship with God. And through Him God gives us a most wonderful present, the most wonderful possible.

Our salvation is a complete deliverance from the curse which we deserve, and it is a gift of everlasting value. Christmas presents given by man soon wear out, or no longer fit our needs and desires. The gift we received as little children does not compare with what we desire as adults. But salvation brings redemption; bestows upon us that which we need desperately; and never, never wears out. It is that which we never want discarded.

For our Redeemer is the Lord of Hosts, the Holy One of Israel. HE is God’s gift to us. What a gift! To receive the Redeemer is wonderful. A Savior Who is the Lord of Hosts assures us that we will get a most precious gift, yea, that we already have a most precious gift, a Savior Who cannot be stopped in His work of salvation upon us.

We will most assuredly with our souls enter heavenly glory, the moment we die here on this earth. And our bodies will most assuredly be raised so that with body and soul we enter the new Jerusalem.

For the world, and for Satan who is the prince of this world, Christ’s birth means a complete defeat. For us it means a most blessed gift. We have a most powerful Redeemer. He did redeem us one hundred per cent. And there is no one that can stop Him from bringing us that everlasting present of covenant fellowship with God in the glory of His kingdom of heaven. Read: Revelation 22.

 

December 7

THAT WONDERFUL GIFT OF SALVATION What do you need more than anything else? What is the most precious gift that you want God to give you? Can you rejoice and be glad because of what God took away from you? Or are you more interested in what He can give to you? Is salvation a gift to you, or a work whereby He takes something from you?

Salvation is both of these works of God. We look forward to celebrating the day of Christ’s birth because it tells us that He gave us a Savior. But remember also that He gave us this Savior so that our guilt and corrupt natures might be taken away from us. He made it possible for us to leave our way down to hell. He gave us a Savior Who will bring us up to heaven.

To appreciate this we must take hold of the truth which we find in Jeremiah 23:6, where we read, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in safety: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

We have here both the taking away, which is implied in that word “saved,” and the giving of the gift, which is implied in those words “dwell in safety.” What hurts He removed, and what gives us peace and joy He gives. Our unrighteousness He removes, and He Whose name is the Lord Our Righteousness gives us righteousness.

We should also note that Jeremiah here speaks not simply of Christ’s “day,” but of His “days.” What is more, His day began when in Bethlehem He was born; but His days as our Savior are still here, and will be here everlastingly in the new Jerusalem. Although in a special way we may celebrate one day a year concerning His coming day, we have the calling to thank Him every day for what He took from us and for what He gives unto us.

Take that blessed truth along with you the rest of your days here on this earth. Use every day which He gives you in confessing Him to have made you righteous, and in taking away all your guilt and punishment. Read: Jeremiah 23:1-8.

 

December 8

JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS What we considered yesterday is the truth that we have salvation as a wonderful gift from God. This is explained in Jeremiah 23:6 by the truth that our Savior is “The Lord our righteousness.” Today we had better delve a bit deeper into that truth.

Jeremiah wrote in this verse that God’s church—called Judah and Israel in the text —shall be saved and will dwell safely. All this is presented to us because Israel was a type of God’s church. The name “Israel,” which was given to Jacob, means “Prince of God.” The name “Lord” here in Jeremiah 23:5 is literally “Jehovah”; and, as we noted, “Jehovah” means “I Am.” Thus, what Jeremiah wrote was that Jehovah Our Righteousness is our Savior’s name.

Now, Christ is called this because He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. He came to dwell in our flesh, but His person is that of the Son of God. This explains how He could suffer and die and thereby pay for our sins.

He saved us in the sense of redeeming us, that is, of buying salvation for us by His blood and suffering. That punishment and death we deserve. He bought freedom from these, and He also bought everlasting blessedness. Redemption does not merely set us free from punishment, but also gives us everlasting glory and joy.

What a salvation then do we have! What a blessed day it was when God Himself came into our flesh in order to take away our guilt and give us heavenly blessedness! We are not simply freed from the cruelty and wickedness of our spiritual enemies. We are given unspeakable joy through Christ as the Lord Our Righteousness. Jehovah, the I Am Who changes not, made us righteous.

This day which men call Christmas is the day when God gave us a most wonderful and everlasting gift. We are righteous, because we belong to Jehovah the Righteous One. Thank God for making you righteous through Jehovah Our Righteousness. Read: Psalm 130.

 

December 9

OUR SURE AND BLESSED REST A few days ago we took note of the truth that Jesus Christ our Savior is our Redeemer, which means that He bought us out of our guilt and the curse, which we by nature deserve because we fell in Adam.

A beautiful truth, that stands in connection with this purchase of our salvation, we find in Jeremiah 50:34. There we read: “Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name: he shall thoroughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.”

Let us today take note of the truth that our Redeemer’s name is Lord of Hosts. Here again, that word “Lord” is the Hebrew word “Jehovah,” that is, “I Am.” The point to note here is that He is Jehovah of Hosts; and a host is a multitude of people. Do not then think that the church is only a handful of people, even though Satan’s army of sinners is far greater in number.

The comforting truth here is that, as we approach the day of celebrating the birth of our Savior, we are assured that our Redeemer saves a host of sinners. God has chosen a host of sinners, a very large group out of every nation, tongue, and tribe, and established Him as their Redeemer. That body of Christ will have an exact number of members, and there will be a host like the sand on the seashore (Hebrews 11:12).

Today, and on what is called Christmas Day, thank God for the assurance that we are going to get a land of rest, and that we have a strong Redeemer Who is Jehovah, the I AM, Who is unchangeable, and almighty to realize every word in every promise which our God has given us.

What a comforting truth there is in what we ought to celebrate on the day of Christ’s birth. We have a strong Redeemer, the Lord of hosts, Who will bring us victory and a most blessed rest in His kingdom. Read: Matthew 11:20-30.

 

December 10

THAT PRECIOUS IMPORTANT GIFT In a little more than two weeks, Christmas presents will be given and received. What present would you want to receive? What would you call a most precious and important gift? Would it be what is presented to us through Ezekiel as God’s gift to the members of His church? In Ezekiel 36:26 we read, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Do you want that? Or are there other gifts that you prefer above and instead of that gift? Do men please you with what they give, and do these gifts give you more joy than that gift of which God here speaks? Do you look forward to what is called Christmas Day, because you want what you consider to be more valuable things than such a heart? If on that day you will get only one gift, would you choose that to be the present you would most like to receive?

We need a heart to receive any gift. When our heart stops beating we lose all our earthly possessions. It is indeed a most wonderful work of God when, as our text states, He takes away our hard, sinful heart and gives us a new, soft heart that loves Him, and causes us to want to serve and glorify Him.

Man comes into this world with a stony heart. With such a heart all men are born, for we come into this world without the smallest love for God, and with a heart that hates Him. We all come into this world hardhearted, having hearts that reveal a spirit of hatred against God and against all the things of His kingdom. Christ’s birth then is not in our judgment a blessing.

As believers we must appreciate that birth of Christ, Who came in order to bring us this gift of hearts that love God. That is a most precious gift. It reveals the blessedness of God’s love for us. Read: Ezekiel 36:16-27.

 

December 11

THAT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY GIFT What do you want? Yesterday we considered what God promised to give us, namely, new hearts. Without that new heart there will be nothing spiritually new in our lives, but sin will continue and abound. But there is something of deeper need than a new heart, and David presents that in Psalm 23.

In Psalm 23:1 he wrote, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.” We need Christ as our shepherd so badly. For our new hearts to beat in love of God we need Christ as our shepherd. For we are God’s sheep, and we are greatly in need of a shepherd. Let us go back to that first promise that God gave us the day we fell into sin in Adam.

In Genesis 3:15 the whole human race is presented as consisting in two spiritual parts. One is the seed of the woman, and the other is the seed of the serpent. What is more, the seed of the serpent will do all in its power to try to kill the seed of the woman. That does not mean merely to kill physically, as Cain killed his brother Abel. But the seed of the serpent is Satan’s tool whereby he tries to kill us spiritually and make us hate God and His Christ.

From that point of view let it be understood that although the seed of the woman are sheep, the seed of the serpent are wolves who attack and try to eat up the seed of the woman. Do not overlook the fact which we find presented in Matthew 7:15, where we are told to beware of false prophets, which come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

Appreciate then that truth which our God gave us through David. We have been given a shepherd Who will keep us safe. Take hold of that truth in your celebration of Christ’s birth. What a wonderful, but also very necessary, gift. That gift is far more important than all the gold and silver in this world. This is a gift which assures us of being kept safe, and sure of entering Christ’s kingdom of heaven. He will keep our new hearts in us, and keep the seed of the serpent from stopping those hearts. Read: Psalm 23.

 

December 12

THAT WONDERFUL AND COMFORTING TRUTH It is true that in a physical sense we have many needs. There is so much that is necessary for our lives as creatures. But what is above all necessary is that which our lives from a spiritual point of view stand in need of, and which must be given us. That is why, as we considered yesterday, we have that wonderful truth of Psalm 23:1 that “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.”

However, what we ought to take hold of and keep before our minds is that God Himself speaks here through David and tells us that we have no want, for we have a shepherd Who supplies all our needs. Because Christ is our Shepherd, we have what is necessary to bring us from hell to heaven, from sin and guilt to holiness and righteousness. The question before us is whether we want these presents, and whether we will praise and thank God on the day we celebrate Christ’s birth for this wonderful, all-important gift.

Take hold of that truth: We want nothing! God has sent His Son to do all that which is necessary to bring us out of all our punishment and guilt, and from all our unholiness and godlessness.

Consider that as it is because of Christ’s birth, which took place about 2,000 years ago, that we call the year in which we find ourselves A.D. 1996. That means that we are in the year 1996 of our Lord; for the letters “A.D.,” an abbreviation of “anno domini,” mean “in the year of our Lord.”

1996 years ago our God gave us our Lord, Who is our good shepherd Who took away all our wants, and gave us all that which our salvation calls for or wants for its realization.

We have Christ today as our shepherd, and we lack nothing and no one necessary for our full salvation. He did die for us, rose again and ascended into heaven to prepare places for us.

What a gift! And what a calling we have to celebrate the day of His birth with praise and thanksgiving to God. Read: John 10:1-18.

 

December 13

THAT GIFT OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH Life is a wonderful gift which our God is pleased to bestow upon us. But how much we are going to use our life depends upon how much strength God is pleased to give us. A paralyzed person has life but is very limited in the strength of some of his members, limited as to what he can do.

It is therefore also so very important that we are given spiritual strength as well as spiritual life, so that we can serve God by walking in good works. In Psalm 29:11 David wrote, “The Lord will give strength unto his people.” We must take note of the fact that He is speaking to a special people to whom God had given that special gift of spiritual strength.

Is it not plain that God gives physical strength to all men? In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). What counts, however, is whether God gives us spiritual strength, and how much of this He gives us. Does He enables us to walk in love to Himself? How able are we to walk in love for Him? All the born-again have some strength to do this. But certainly we all must pray for more strength.

We do thank God for earthly things and experiences. That is our calling. But by all means thank God for strength and ability to walk in love to Him. And pray for more strength in order to serve Him in love more fully.

Because that strength is a gift made possible by the gift of His Son in our flesh, we owe God thanks. We should remember this when in a few days we celebrate the gift of His Son. Through His Son that gift of spiritual strength may be and is given us. When, then, we celebrate His birth, let us remember and give thanks to God for spiritual strength. That is more important than the physical strength which He gives us. To be spiritually strong is a wonderful gift through His Son Whom in His grace He gave us to be our King. Read: Psalm 28.

 

December 14

THAT BLESSED GIFT OF PEACE Yesterday we briefly considered the gift of spiritual strength which our God is pleased to give us, and which is listed in Psalm 29:11. In this verse we also find the gift of peace. The complete verse declares, “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace….”

What we should bear in mind first of all is that this peace is given only to those to whom God gives spiritual strength, which strength is mentioned in the first part of this verse. To enjoy this peace we need spiritual strength.

The idea here is not that we have peace with men in this life. No, the day we fell into sin in Adam God told the devil and us that there will be enmity, a war between mankind with crushing of heads and heels (Genesis 3:15).

What is so wonderful is that we, the seed of the woman, have peace with God. Not only does He deal with us in peace, but He strengthens us spiritually so that we can live in peace with Him, walking in love for Him.

Let us then, on the day we celebrate the birth of His Son, remember that He has given us the wonderful change whereby we no longer hate Him and fight against Him and His holy law, but strive to do what pleases Him and glorifies Him as our God and Father.

Indeed, what the psalmist says is so very true. This peace with God is a blessing. David states that God will bless us with peace. The question is whether we are doing that which pleases God. The question is not whether we want God to do what pleases us, but whether we consider it a blessed gift that he has made us able to please Him. Read: Psalm 29.

 

December 15

GIVEN OUR HEART’S DESIRE We need more and more strength to live in peace with God. And we should more and more be thankful to God for the strength and peace which He gives us. Here are wonderful gifts which only God can give us.

It is understandable that children desire certain toys or other objects as birthday presents and Christmas gifts. But the adult child of God should desire what David desired and presented to us in Psalm 37:4. There we read, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” The truth here is that when we delight in the Lord, He will grant us what we desire. That limits severely what we are going to get; but it assures us that we will get what we desire.

Surely, it is difficult for a child of God to desire fellowship with God. We came into this world, by nature, as seed of the serpent, those who hate God and want nothing to do with Him and His law. On the day when the church celebrates the birth of Christ, the world very clearly reveals that it does not delight in the Lord but in earthly things and in that which satisfies their sinful flesh. It would be far better for us not to call that day Christmas. What some call their Mass is not taught in Scripture; and although calling it Christmas does not make it our day for celebrating a Mass, we ought to avoid that word.

To delight in the Lord means to find joy in serving Him and in having covenant fellowship with Him. It means that we find delight in spiritual things, and that we agree with David when in Psalm 27:4 he says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”

Is that delightful to you? Is that the one thing that controls all the rest of the things which you desire? Will that be the one thing that is in your mind when that day arrives when we will celebrate the birth of our Savior? Is having Him as your Savior the one thing that you desire, and that which characterizes all your walk of life? Read: Psalm 37.

 

December 16

GIVEN ALL THAT WHICH IS GOOD Two precious gifts which God gives us are grace and glory. That truth we find presented in Psalm 84:11. In that verse we read, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

Now grace is favor. It means that we have not earned salvation and its blessings, but have it given to us apart from anything which we did. And glory is the radiation, the shining forth, of virtue. Take hold then of that comforting truth that God will not withhold from us any good thing, and will always give us that which is good for us.

Since God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly, we must believe that, in all circumstances of life, what He sends upon us is for our good and serves, bringing us to the glory He promises His people. So very clearly this is revealed in the birth of our Savior. In His grace God sent His own Son to die for us. We do not deserve it. Christ most assuredly is the most precious gift which God gave us in His grace. He, Christ, brings us out of our guilt, and thus out of hell; and He brings us to heaven where the highest glory for human beings will be bestowed upon us.

Christ’s birth, then, is that good thing which He in His grace gave us so that we would reach heavenly glory. Joseph supplied nothing, and Mary was God’s tool whereby He brought us our Savior. God’s grace used Mary so that we could come out of the curse and be raised to glory.

Walk uprightly, then, and you will have the assurance that Christ came for you, and that He most assuredly will bring you to the glory that Christ now has and is realizing for all His people.

Therefore also walk uprightly, and you will have reason to rejoice and have peace of mind on the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth. Then you will know that His cross is God’s work of grace for your glory. Read: Psalm 84.

 

December 17

THAT BLESSED GRANTING OF SALVATION What in your mind does the word “salvation” mean? From what do you want to be saved?

The Hebrew word that we find in Psalm 85:7 means to cause one to be safe. All that which is evil cannot touch those who are saved. That salvation comes fully when Christ returns and we are all taken into the Kingdom of Heaven, and all the seed of the serpent, who are our enemies, will be cast into everlasting torment in the lake of fire!

Take hold of that truth! Read Psalm 85:7. Here is what we read in it: “Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.” Plainly, then, that for which the psalmist prays here (and for which we should also pray) is that Christ will finish His work, and bring us to that place of glory where there is no sin, or sinners who can touch us. In glory we will even be cut off from their sneers and hateful glances.

But, above all, salvation is safety from God’s wrath and the punishment which we deserve. That cross of Christ is, then, such a wonderful gift. Not meaning that it is a day for Mass celebration, Christmas is such a wonderful day, reminding us of such a wonderful gift.

Let us, therefore, as we approach the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth, keep that precious gift in mind. That gift opens the way for God to work all things together for our good. This birth of Christ opens the door to our right to all the blessings which God’s mercy has realized for us.

Pray to God that He will open your eyes wider, so that you will see more clearly and richly His mercy which grants you salvation as a free gift, with everlasting blessedness. Pray too that He may give a more sinless life, so that you will find the fruit of salvation in you, the evidence that Christ was born in our flesh, and by His cross blotted out your guilt. And, on the day when we celebrate His birth, pray for more power to thank Him for His mercy and gift of salvation. Read: Psalm 85.

 

December 18

OUR SAVIOR GRACIOUSLY PROMISED There are from a spiritual point of view only two kinds of angels. There is Satan and his host that hate God, and there are the holy angels who love Him. Likewise, here on this earth, there are from a spiritual point of view only two kinds of people: believers and unbelievers.

This tremendously important truth is revealed in Genesis 3:15, which is called the Mother Promise. There God said to the devil, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel.” In the Hebrew language, as written by Moses, that word is “crush,” not merely “bruise.”

Here is the first gospel promise, for it is the first promise of the coming of Christ in our flesh. This enmity and spiritual difference of mankind became plain in Adam and Eve’s first two children: Cain the unbeliever and Abel the believer. When Cain killed Abel, the believing seed of the woman, Seth, was provided by our God. In the line of Seth were Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And from Jacob came twelve tribes, with believers and unbelievers in each tribe, the tribe of Judah being appointed by God to bring forth the kings. And THE King came when from the virgin Mary Christ was born. Here is a tremendously important truth. Christ is the Seed of the Woman. He will deliver the church completely from the coming Antichrist who is the Seed of Satan. The truth which we should take hold of, as we approach the day when we celebrate the birth of Christ, is that Christmas does clearly reveal to us God’s faithfulness to all His promises.

Christmas is coming in a week. As we approach it, let us take hold of the truth that God always fulfills perfectly every promise that He gives us. Satan’s head is going to be crushed, as will also the head of his spiritual seed. But ours is the victory, because the Son of God came into our flesh and represented us and saved us by His cross. Read: Galatians 3:1-16.

 

December 19

THE FULFILLING OF GOD’S PROMISE As we noted yesterday, the very day when man fell into sin, God promised the coming of Christ to save us from Satan’s power, and from the punishment we deserve because of our sin and guilt. Today we will look a bit more closely at God’s faithfulness to His promises.

To do this let us turn to Isaiah 11:1, where we read, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Our God, Who told Satan that He would crush his head through Christ, Whose heel Satan would crush, presents to us here a wonderfully comforting truth. Because Satan crushes our heel, that is, persecutes us, and brings death upon the woman’s seed, and God’s Son has His heel crushed, that is, suffers death on His cross, we will have the victory. On the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth we can enjoy this truth.

So often it looks as though God is not keeping His promise to us. The crushing of our heel seems to deny His faithfulness. But it is not so.

In Judah the line of David, which God set aside to bring forth our King, ended in a virgin. That made it look hopeless for a king to be born. It looked, as we read in Isaiah 53:2, as though the dry ground could not bring forth a tree. Mary, the virgin, could find no husband in that line of Jesse and David. Joseph, whom she planned on marrying, could not bring forth the royal seed of David. He was a dry ground, and she was therefore also dry ground.

But as we look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth, let us read those words of Isaiah in chapter 53:2, namely, “For he (Christ) shall grow up before him (God) as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground.”

Remember then that this fulfillment of God’s promise through the virgin Mary reveals that no matter how dark the future may look, Christ will come, and God’s promise to us in Him will be completely fulfilled. Celebrate Christmas then with this comforting truth in your mind. Read: Isaiah 11.

 

December 20

OUR REDEEMER’S COMING All over the world, Christmas is celebrated. But it is not celebrated properly by the majority of the human race. What is important is that we observe it as the day when we received the most precious gift that there is. We should hold on to the truth as we find it in Isaiah 59:20, where we read, “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.”

Here are two important truths for which we must be thankful and which we must remember in our Christmas celebration. Christ is our Redeemer, that is, the one Who bought us salvation by His cross. And He comes for only some of the human race, the part here called Zion.

The sad fact is that our earthly Christmas presents at Christmas time take our thoughts away from this most wonderful gift of Christ and the salvation which He earned for us by His cross, the gift of the forgiveness of our sins and everlasting covenant fellowship with God. He takes away from us our guilt, and gives us an everlasting life with much closer fellowship and friendship with God than the highest angels have. We have that wonderful gift of becoming sons and daughters of the almighty God. He takes from us the guilt and misery into which Satan led us, and blesses us with sweet communion with God.

Whether He came for us and bought this salvation for us to enjoy is revealed in the gift He gives us already in this life. He will cause us to be born again with a new spiritual life which hates sin and wants to walk in a way pleasing in God’s eyes. He came from heaven in order to bring us heavenly blessedness. And turning away from transgressions, hating sin and walking in love to God, reveals that this is His Christmas gift to us.

Even as He came once to earn all this, and be raised with a glorified body, He will come again to bring it fully unto us. Read: Romans 11:22-27.

 

December 21

THAT DIVINE SIGN A sign is a tool that brings information from those who are not with you to speak to you. The sign on the building stating that it is for sale tells you what those who own it say, while they are not there to do it with their mouths.

Thus also in Isaiah 7:14 we read, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Our God is here speaking to us through a work which He performs, so that we might have this truth and enjoy its blessedness. This work is a sign through which He speaks to us.

There is a very important truth here that we must believe. Our God has done for us that which no creature can do. A virgin cannot bring forth a son. Yet God did this humanly impossible work, causing a child to be born by a virgin and bringing us salvation through that Son.

We cannot save ourselves, because we are spiritually dead; and our sin calls for an everlasting punishment. Our Savior must be the eternal Son of God, Who never sinned and Whose work has everlasting value.

Our God did for us what we do not deserve, and saved us from what we do deserve. In that virgin birth we have a divine sign which tells us that we owe Him everlasting thanks for this gift of His grace. We should bear this in mind when in a few days we celebrate that birth of Christ.

God Himself came into our flesh by a virgin birth so that we might become His spiritual sons and daughters. And when Christ returns pretty soon we are going to have an everlasting day of celebrating this wonder work of God’s grace, this mighty work whereby He has changed us.

Read the sign and rejoice in the truth that He saves us by a wonder work of His sovereign grace. Read: Luke 1:26-35.

 

December 22

HUMBLE SUBMISSION In the wonder of God’s grace a virgin brought forth the Christ-child. Our salvation became possible because of what our God did in His grace. Mary brought forth this Child, but she did so because God worked upon her and through her. The praise and thanksgiving must be given to God.

Our God made Mary a devout believer. In Luke 1:38 we read, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” We ought to consider how wonderfully God worked. As hard as it was for Mary’s flesh to do what would rule her in the eyes of mankind as an harlot, she bowed before God and believed that this humanly impossible birth of the Savior would take place. She would suffer shame before men, but she would walk in a way pleasing in God’s eyes.

Note the statement, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” Note also that she called herself God’s hand-maid, that is, servant. Although we cannot perform the work which Mary accomplished, we can and must say to our God, “I am Thy servant. Do unto me what pleases Thee. Give me grace and ability to do Thy will in all my walk of life.” How much of that did you do today?

Let us therefore also, with a view to the observance of the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth, serve God by thanking Him for this gift of His Son. Let us enter Christmas not only seeing it as the day of God’s almighty power and infinite wisdom displaying themselves, but also as the day of His love and grace to send His own Son into our flesh to die for us that we may live with Him in everlasting blessedness.

Christ’s coming in our flesh opens the way for us to come into sweet communion with God through blotted out sins, and by a new life given us by His Spirit. Christmas must be a thanksgiving day that moves us to daily thanks-giving for salvation as the gift of His grace. Read: Matthew 1:18-25.

 

December 23

GOD’S MERCY UPON US On Christmas Day it is a custom to give enjoyable presents to loved ones. But it is a blessing which God gives us in order that we may be with Him in His house of many mansions. And the blessedness of Christmas is also that which God takes away from us. For what He takes from us, namely, our guilt, makes that dwelling with Him in glory possible.

We need to have our guilt removed by the blotting out of our sins. Therefore our Christmas must be a day wherein we praise God’s name and thank Him for the work of His grace that sent His Son to be our Savior. It must also be a day wherein we do this for His mercy, as Mary said to Elisabeth when she visited her, “And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.”

Now mercy is kindness, compassion, pity, tenderness. We sinners certainly need that, because Adam, the first man in the human race, brought guilt upon the whole human race. From Adam we received those totally depraved natures that add sin to sin all the days of our lives.

On Christmas we must remember how guilty we are in Adam, and because of our own sinful walk of life. Our guilt must be taken from us in order that blessings may be given unto us.

At Christmas, but also every day in our lives, we must come to God with thankfulness for His mercy as well as for the gifts of His grace. Take note of the fact that God’s mercy is “on them that fear Him.” This means that it is only on the believers. For to fear God is to believe that He alone is God, and that Christ is His Son come into our flesh.

If you have that fear, that awesome respect and trust in God, you may be sure that He sent His Son to take away your guilt, and to bring you to everlasting blessedness in His kingdom of heaven. His sending of His Son opened the way for His blotting out of our guilt. Christ’s coming in our flesh made it possible for us to come with Him into heavenly glory. Read: Luke 1:46-56.

 

December 24

SAVED BY GRACE Two women were informed by our God that our Savior was going to be born in the line of David. But He also informed a man, and even told him what name should be given to the Son of God in our flesh. In Matthew 1:21 we read that to Joseph it was said, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins….”

This man, engaged to become the husband of Mary, had first thought that she had sinned. He intended therefore to put her away. In verse 19 we read that he, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

To this Joseph was given the wonderful truth that we should take hold of, and hold on to with all our spiritual strength, namely, “He shall save his people from their sins.” By all means take hold of that truth on Christmas Day. That forgiveness of our sins is a most wonderful gift of God’s grace. Worldly gifts and presents do not even stand in the shade of that gift of God’s grace.

Tomorrow we celebrate Christ’s birth, and the chief attraction of that day is not what men or women give us, not what human brothers and sisters do for us, but what Christ, the Son of God in our flesh, did for us and is doing daily for us.

Let us tomorrow sing God’s praises. Let us thank Him for what He took from us, and for what He gave us in its place. Let us before the world testify that Christ is the Savior. For that name “Jesus” means “Jehovah Saves.” Let us tomorrow, and every day, rejoice that our guilt has been taken away, and that we are given righteousness and holiness as a free gift of God’s grace. Let us sing a new song to Jehovah for the won­ders He has wrought. Read: Psalm 98.

 

December 25

GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY A blessed Christmas to you. For what our God through an angel declared in Luke 2:10 presents to us a most blessed truth. Through an angel our covenant God says to us, “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” And these good tidings are that unto us a Savior has been born, which is Christ the Lord.

It is true that His name “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves,” for He is the Son of God, the First Person in the Holy Trinity, come into our flesh. But that He is Christ means that He is in our flesh the anointed one, anointed by God to represent and bless us. And that He is Lord means that He rules over us, but also over all creation with its creatures for our good.

What more precious gift could be given us on Christmas Day? What more powerful and sure Savior can there be than one Who is rightly by God called Christ and Lord? For He is God’s anointed Head of His church. And as Lord He can and does bring to us the most precious gifts that there are and will be in the new creation.

He is not a lord, but The Lord Who has complete control over all creation. That He is Christ means that He is God’s choice for the position of representing us on the cross in order to open the door for us to enter everlasting blessedness.

Take hold of that truth! His gift to us will never, no never, wear out. His gift is not something we outgrow, like toys given us at Christmas when we were little children. No, this day speaks to us of the good tidings of great joy that will never end, and that are so rich that we will never become weary of them. Our joy in them will everlastingly increase.

Rejoice then today, but also all the rest of the days of your life here below. Thank Him for this gift which is an everlasting blessedness wrought for us through Christ, the eternal Son of God. Read: Isaiah 40:1-11.

 

December 26

SEEING AND BELIEVING Although they were shepherds watching their flock of sheep by night, they did not yet know and understand the message of the angel that this child Who was born in Bethlehem is The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. But they did believe what the angel told them, and they went to “see this thing which had come to pass.” They were believers and revealed strong faith in Him as their Savior.

We read that they came with haste and found the babe lying in a manger. Of all places for a newborn child to be born! What humility it showed for one Who the angel said was their Savior! What is so revealing, and what is evidence that He is our Savior, is the fact that He, as the Son of God in our flesh, caused the shepherds to make “known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child” (Luke 2:17).

Here, indeed, is instruction and exhortation to us. Christmas is past. But is its truth past as far as your life is concerned? You still have the gifts your loved ones gave you yesterday. But do you cherish and appreciate more today than you did a year ago the gift of God’s Son, after celebrating the birth of Christ?

Since last year we added a load of sin to our sins of the past. These sins made necessary not only the coming of our Savior, but also His dying on the cross to save us from their punishment. Since these sins increased, did His birth as Savior have richer meaning yesterday than a year ago? Do you more enthusiastically sing with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will to men”?

Seeing His cross, we ought to be far more thankful this year than last year, understanding more clearly what He did for us, and that He is the Lamb of God Who removed our guilt. Read: Luke 2:8-20.

 

December 27

AN AWESOME AND COMFORTING PROPHECY Forty days after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple to be presented to God. Of the necessity of this we read in Leviticus 12:1-4. When they brought Him there an amazing event took place.

An elderly man, named Simeon, had been informed that he would not die until he had seen “the Lord’s Christ.” And when Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple “to present Him to the Lord” Simeon took the babe, Jesus, up in his arms and, among other things, said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against.”

It may seem strange that a Savior is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel. Yet, not so, if we recall Genesis 3:15 where God told Satan that the human race will be divided into seed of the woman and seed of the serpent, these seeds hating each other, the head of the serpent’s seed being crushed, and the heel of the woman’s seed being crushed. This is a very important truth, for the whole human race fell into sin. But God is pleased to save some, causing these to hate Satan and sin. A promise is given that He will nullify some of Satan’s work and his temporary victory, and will work faith and love of God in some whom He eternally chose in Christ.

In Christ, Who is God’s work of grace, will Satan’s work be defeated in as many members of the human race as it pleases God to realize this. What we have manifested to us, then, concerning this Child in Simeon’s arms, is a most beautiful and comforting truth about God’s grace and love for His elect.

God promised to save us not only from our punishment, but also from the power and control of Satan. That newborn babe, Christ, manifests God’s love that will implant the love of Him in our hearts. What a blessed gift which we considered on the day we celebrated Christ’s birth. How wonderful that this enmity is realized in us against Satan and sin. Read: I John 3:1-17.

 

December 28

THANKFUL FOR OUR REDEMPTION It was the hand of our God that brought Simeon to the temple the hour that Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to be presented unto the Lord, as was required. But it was also the mercy of our God that caused a believing woman named Anna to be in the temple to see Simeon holding the Christ Child.

This woman, more than 84 years as a widow, and about 100 years old, was spiritually as well as physically very spry and active. She thanked God for the gift of His Son; for we read in Luke 2:30, “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”

Is it not amazing what control our almighty God has over all things? He preserved Simeon’s life till Christ was presented in the temple. He let Anna go far beyond the fourscore years of the strong (Psalm 90:10), so that she might see our Savior, and He also preserved for us what she said about our Savior.

She saw redemption and thanked God for it. She saw our Redeemer. She did not know that Herod would try to kill Him, and that He would die on a cross; but she knew that God keeps His word, and that here was our Savior Who most assuredly would redeem us, that is, take away all our guilt. This in turn meant that she believed that He would bring to us all that God promised in His Word.

And now, as we begin to be farther and farther from the day in which we celebrated Jesus’ birth, we have presented here to us our calling to thank God for giving us this Redeemer. It is well that we celebrate that day of the month; but our calling is to thank God every day of every year for this wonderful gift—or present, if you want to call it that—of a Redeemer, Who not only died for our sins, but is now at God’s right hand preparing places for us in a holy, blessed kingdom. Do that every day, and not only once a year. Read: Psalm 98.

 

December 29

RULED BY A MERCIFUL SHEPHERD There are times when an Old Testament verse is quoted in the New Testament. When this happens the Greek word in the New Testament often brings out a new element of truth.

We find this fact in Matthew 2:6 where we find a statement written in Micah 5:2. This difference we cannot find in the King James Version of the Bible. But the Greek word used by Matthew does enrich what Micah wrote. In Matthew 2:6 we find the chief priests and scribes stating that out of Judah “shall come a Governor, that shall rule the people of Israel.” However, the word “rule,” which we find here, and which appears also in Micah 5:2, although it presents the truth literally, means “to shepherd.” It means, thus, to rule as a shepherd rules the sheep of his flock. Does not Jesus Himself in John 10:14 say, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine”? A shepherd loves his sheep and seeks to protect them from all the wolves that would like to kill them. And Christ, as our shepherd, protects the seed of the woman from the attacks of the seed of the serpent. A ruler can be cruel. A shepherd tenderly cares for his sheep, Jesus even laying down His life for His sheep.

Here we have a blessed truth concerning Jesus and His birth, which we should appreciate and hold on to tightly when we celebrate His birth, but also every day of our lives. His birthday is past, but the truth concerning Him is everlasting.

We have a shepherd Who willingly laid down His life to give us an everlasting and wonderful life with God in the new Jerusalem. Let us not set aside our appreciation of His coming in our flesh. Let us not set aside the truth that we have such a wonderful Savior, and think of Him only occasionally. What men call Christmas is past; but let us not set aside the truth of having such a merciful shepherd Who came to save us and bless us. Read: John 10

 

December 30

REMEMBERING OUR BLESSED SHEPHERD Yesterday we took note of the fact that Christ rules us as a shepherd Who is deeply concerned with our well-being as His sheep.

Let us now take note of the fact that long after His birth wise men came from afar to worship Him. They did this many days before Herod sent out soldiers to kill all the male children two years old and younger. Here then are those that loved Christ, and those who hated Him and wanted Him killed.

Let us also appreciate the fact that they came to worship Jesus long after the day of His birth. This underscores the truth that one day in a year is not the only time when we should reveal our spiritual interest in His coming as our savior and king. Our thankfulness for His coming into our flesh to save us from our sins must be in our hearts every day in every month of every year. Even if we live to be, as Anna was, 100 years old, for us to come before God to thank Him for our Savior 100 times (i.e., once a year) would be, not a worthy thing, but a shame. Every day, in every week, of every year we should come to our God and thank Him for having sent His Son as our Good Shepherd, Who is now watching over us in love, and preparing the way for His return to bring us to heavenly blessedness.

Listen! We read of those wise men, who had true wisdom in their souls, that they wisely went such a great distance, and on a day other than the one on which Jesus was born. They revealed by this that they are wise men.

Go then to God with heart and soul to thank Him for sending His Son for our salvation. Open the Scriptures daily to see more clearly what His Son did for us. Put all your trust in His return to finish His work as our Savior, our kind and tender shepherd. Confess by deeds as well as words, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.”

Then you will also say that wherewith these devotionals began the first day of this year: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Read: Psalm 23.

 

December 31

OUR PROPER ATTITUDE Once more we have come to the end of a year. The question may properly be raised, Can you say with the psalmist, what he said in Psalm 119:65? There we read, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word….”

Looking back on the year that ends today, can you say what the psalmist said in absolute sincerity? Or was your year full of grumbling and complaining, murmuring and expressing disappointments? What happened in your life this year that is coming to its close today?

Indeed, there are events that bring us grief, sadness, and tears. Our Savior Himself wept at the tomb of Lazarus, and groaned when some of the Jews said, “Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” They did not understand His weeping and groaning. It is not always sinful to weep because a loved one is taken away, or when you are in deep pain.

The big and important question is whether we, because of what happened this year, doubt God’s mercy and wisdom. How sincerely can we say, no matter what happens, that God has dealt well with us? How sure are we that all things work together for good to us? Do we agree with what Paul wrote in Romans 8:28?

The end of all things is near. And the end of this year reminds us that an end is coming to time, and to this present world in its present form.

Our calling is to believe this truth presented by the psalmist, and to confess this before the world. All is well for God’s people. Sing then and rejoice because all that happened and will yet happen was and is God dealing well with His people. The end of this year assures God’s people of the beginning of an endless age of covenant fellowship between God and His people. The end of this world reveals the end of a world of sin. Do you want to have sin brought to its end? Read: Psalm 119:65-80.

 

Reprinted from Daily Meditations for Spiritual Comfort by Rev. John A. Heys, minister emeritus from the Protestant Reformed Churches

November 1

THE BELIEVERS BLESSED AFFLICTIONS It makes a world of difference whether you stand at the cross of Christ and see the hatred of the unbelieving Jews, and the shed blood and pain which He endured, or whether you look at what He was earning for us through that suffering and death. It makes a world of difference also whether you look simply at your own afflictions, or at that which these afflictions will bring you. Thus in II Corinthians 4:17 we read, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Look at those bodily afflictions and you will see what Adam brought upon man through his sin. If you look no deeper, you will judge the punishment of God to be falling upon the afflicted. But if you look into the heart of the child of God who is being afflicted, you see the work of God’s grace whereby He is bringing that child of God to heavenly glory. As Paul says to the Philippians in chapter 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Get that! For the child of God to suffer and die brings him gain, not loss. This is certainly true when the affliction is persecution because of faith in God. It is that to which Paul refers here in II Corinthians 4:17. These afflictions will be “for a moment,” but they bring us to everlasting glory in a life completely without affliction. When you look at what God did to your soul you see what He will do pretty soon to your body. Sooner or later men are going to see our dead bodies in coffins. But take hold of this comforting truth that through death God brings our souls out of all misery and pain into an endless life of heavenly glory. Therefore it is also a sign that the body will be raised, when Christ returns, and will be changed into one that will never have an ache or pain, but enjoy an everlasting fellowship with God in a more wonderful world than Adam and Eve enjoyed before they fell into sin. Fear not if the world persecutes. Look at what God is doing. Read: II Corinthians 4.

 

November 2

REST FOR THE RESTLESS Ever since man fell into sin, he has been restless. For the curse which fell upon mankind, when Adam sinned, gives man no rest. Resting is not ceasing from all activity. Man must cease from his physical activity, and take the rest of sleep in order to be able to work the next day. But while he sleeps, his heart keeps beating, and his body is performing the work of making it able to take up work once again as before. When then in Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” He is not promising us idleness and inactivity. Do we not read of God resting the seventh day after creating heaven and earth and all their creatures? And is He inactive today? Do we not also in Hebrews 4:9 read that “there remaineth to the people of God” a rest? Will we then be idle in the new Jerusalem? No, we shall be very busy serving and praising God. To enter into that blessed rest we must come unto Christ. For He earned it for us and opened the way for us to enter into it and enjoy it. He made it possible for restless people to have an end to their restlessness, and for them to enjoy being active in heavenly glory. His cross finished the work of salvation so that we could begin to walk in love for God. And since we cannot get rid of our load of sin and guilt which is upon us, we have this call to come to Christ, Who removed our load of guilt which we hopelessly try to get rid of, and opened the door for us to come where, with body and soul, we may serve God every moment of everlasting life. Seek then your salvation in Christ, for there is no rest for the weary except through Him. On His cross He cried out that it is finished. Through Him we can enter the glorious state and condition of serving God with perfect souls in glorified bodies. Read: Hebrew 4.

 

November 3

DWELLING WITH GOD IN HIS TABERNACLE What lies ahead for the world of unbelievers is the opposite of that which the believers will forever enjoy. This is presented to us in Revelation 21:3, where we read, “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.” Now, a tabernacle is a dwelling place; and here we have the place where God will dwell with His people. He needs no dwelling place. He is not limited to one place. He is the everywhere present God. He has, however, promised, and is preparing, a place where His people will have fellowship with Him. That is the truth presented in this verse. Look then and see that there is a dwelling place which God makes for His people so that they may have sweet communion with Him. This life with God will be far richer than what Adam and Eve enjoyed before they fell into sin and death. Their fellowship with God was wonderful, but it was far more limited than the one now being prepared by God through Christ and His cross. This dwelling place brings us, as the next verse states, where God wipes away all tears from our eyes, where there is no death, sorrow, crying, or pain. And that means that here will be boundless and endless rejoicing, singing, and delight. For we shall be with God as we are with Christ, Who is God come in our flesh. Take hold of that word “Behold.” Look at and into the blessings which God has realized for us through His Son and which will be given us, as far as our souls are concerned, the moment we die, and fully when Christ returns and gives us glorified bodies. Here is the rest which we considered yesterday: dwelling with God and knowing to a wonderful degree His love for us as revealed in and bestowed upon us through Christ. Behold this blessedness now by faith in God and in His Christ. Read: Revelation 21.

 

November 4

THAT CERTAIN VICTORY It might seem strange. In fact it may even appear to be that which should not have been written in our holy Bible. For in Psalm 2:4 we read, “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” However, if you turn to Psalm 37:13 and Psalm 59:8, you will find the same statements. For God is not laughing because He is pleased with what He sees and hears. That He shall have them in derision reveals that He considers all the works of the unbelievers to be folly. The idea is that our God considers all the attempts of the ungodly to destroy His church to be sheer folly. The point is that our God does not worry. He does not in fear watch Satan, the antichrists, and the whole world of unbelievers as they attack and try to destroy His church. All things are always completely under His control. Satan with all the fallen angels and human enemies of God’s church have their plans, and think that they will succeed in getting the godless kingdom of the Anti-Christ established and victorious. But the almighty God, our covenant Father, knows the folly and hopelessness of their plans. Here is a truth we should hold on to tightly. Here is that which should make us laugh, not in the sense of expressing delight in the worlds attempt to set up its devilish kingdom, but in the peace of mind and joy that all is well. The world is today striving desperately to do what the unbelievers tried when they began building the tower of Babel. But they failed then and are going to fail again. The kingdom of the Antichrist will stand briefly. But rejoice in the truth that even in this the ungodly world shall serve God’s plan and purpose. Satan, the Antichrist, and all the ungodly are but tools in God’s hand to work all things together for our good. Our victory is sure. Read: Psalm 37:1- 17.

 

November 5

THAT WONDERFUL PEACE OF GOD When in Philippians 4:6 Paul tells us to be careful for nothing, he is not telling us to be careless. The Greek word Paul uses here means to worry. We are told not to worry, but instead to put all our trust in God and in all the promises which He gives us in Christ. That becomes very plain when in verse 7 he writes, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” What is more, he exhorts us to let all our requests be made known unto God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Our hearts and minds must be fixed upon God’s promises, but also on what He wrought for us through Christ Jesus, His Son and our Savior. Do that and you will have peace of mind and heart. The idea is that we must not doubt God’s ability to keep the promises which He gave us, but also that no matter what happens, God is fulfilling every letter in every promise which He has given us in Christ. We may be sure that, at the cross of Christ, His. mother, the disciples, and other men and women who believed in God and in His Christ, were filled with care and anxiety, and worried about the outcome of it. But all that changed when He arose from the dead. For then they saw that His cross had not put an end to His work, but that by it He realized more blessedness for His people. We also, as we approach not only darker days and persecution, but also our own sicknesses, losses, and bereavements, must not worry. Instead we should take hold of the truth which we find in a versification of Psalm 149: “His saints shall not fail, but over the earth their power shall prevail; All kingdoms and nations shall yield to their sway. To God give the glory and praise Him for aye.” Read: Philippians 4.

 

November 6

SEEKING OUR GOD The longest book of prophecy is Isaiah, which has 66 chapters. In Isaiah 55:6 we find this striking exhortation: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” This verse, however, is better translated, “Seek ye the Lord in His finding, call ye upon Him in His nearness.” For the Hebrew preposition used here basically is “in.” not “while” He is near. For God does not change. His name “Jehovah” means “I Am.” He does not change, and does not “plead” with men to “accept” an “offer” which He will withdraw. This militates against Ephesians 2:1 which tells us that we are spiritually dead before He begins salvation in us. To those whom He did not eternally choose in Christ, God presents salvation only in the sense of setting the truth before them, not in the sense of inviting, begging, pleading that they accept it. But there is a place where God can be found, and where He graciously is near His elect children. He is near them in Christ His Son. And it is in Christ that we can call upon Him and be heard. We must seek Him in Christ, and call upon Him in Christ, after He has already implanted in us the spiritual life which Christ earned for us. The blessed fruit of such seeking in Christ is in the next verse: He will have mercy upon us and abundantly pardon. He will enable us to believe in Him that He is merciful and does pardon us through the cross of Christ. The awesome truth is that only when we, by His grace, seek Him and call upon Him will we experience the blessings which come through His Son. Then we not only know that Jehovah saves, but we will be enjoying that salvation. Seek Him then in Christ. Call upon Him through Christ and you will receive the joy of salvation, and be assured of its fullness when Christ returns. Read: Isaiah 55.

 

November 7

RICH TOWARD GOD There were in Old Testament times men of God to whom God gave much material wealth. There was Job with his host of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. There was also Solomon, who was an extremely rich man. And today there are children of God who have more luxurious homes, more beautiful clothes, and more effective means of transportation than those Solomon had. All this is well. It is God’s gift. But what counts is the gift of spiritual riches. Jesus expressed this very plainly in Luke 12:21, when He concluded His parable about a foolish rich man, who was an unbeliever, who lost all his earthly goods, because God took away his life. Concerning him Jesus said, “So is he that layeth up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God.” That man had said to his soul, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” He went into the everlasting torment of hell! He could not take with him the smallest part of the earthly treasures, which he had not received as that wherewith to serve God. Here we are taught to be, first of all and very seriously concerned with being rich spiritually, with blessings from the hand of God through His Son and His cross. What counts is whether we are rich toward God, not how much earthly treasure we have for a short period of time. What counts is what we will have everlastingly after we have left this life which is a continual death. What counts is not what we have materially in this present life, but what we will receive when this life ends, and our souls go to their everlasting goal. Our bodies for a while will be in the grave; and then earthly treasures will mean nothing to them. Let us then seek the kingdom of God. Jesus applied this parable with the words, “Seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Read: Luke 12:11-31.

 

November 8

PUTTING ON THE ARMOR OF GOD Through the years there have been wars between nations. In fact, the first child to be born, namely Cain, in anger killed his brother Abel. Because people want earthly things they fight to get possessions. Now, fighting is not always sin. In fact God tells us in Ephesians 6:11 to “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This means that we must fight against Satan, because he is fighting us through men. God told us in the day that Adam sinned that we would have to fight, because there would be enmity between the serpent and his seed and the woman and her seed. He also in that declaration assures us that we will have the victory. We can in that light understand that we need armor in a very dangerous battle. And we can be thankful to God that He gives us protection. He changes His elect children and makes them hate the devil and all the sin he brings into this world. The devil hates those whom God has changed spiritually so that they love God and hate sin. Let us not forget that this spiritual battle is far more important than, physical warfare of men who hate men for worldly reasons and carnal craving. Now our fighting must be spiritual, not physical. We must be fighting against the lie, against false doctrines, against sin of every kind, and against all the attempts of the devil and his soldiers (men and fallen angels) which tempt us to walk in sin, and thus in hatred against God, Whose law we must keep fully and constantly. Seek your protection then from all false doctrines which today are increasing in number and subtlety. Never give in to a false doctrine. Fight against all attempts to get us to turn away from God. And remember what happened to Adam and Eve when they agreed with Satan. Seek all the protection you can against Satan and his lies and love of sin. Read: Ephesians 6:10-19.

 

November 9

LIVING IN HOLINESS One who claimed to be a shepherd of Christ’s sheep once said, “Christ died for our sins. Dare we make His martyrdom meaningless by not committing them?” Must we make Christ’s death on His cross the reason for us to commit sin, so that His cross gets more meaning and importance? Did not the apostle Paul write in Romans 6:1, 2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Salvation does not mean simply that our guilt is removed, and that we now are righteous before God. It also means that we are made holy, and that salvation implants in us love for God, and thus the desire to be pleasing in His sight in all that which we do. The evidence that He died for us is that we have been given love of God, and in that love want to be pleasing in His sight. It reveals, that salvation does, that we want to walk as our Savior did, walk in obedience and love for God. Would you want to drink poison so that the skill and wisdom of your doctor would be revealed? Being cured, would you want to take even more of that poison to give that physician more honor and credit for his skill? Instead, you would be making it possible for your mortician to earn a bit more money by your funeral. No, of course not! Likewise, if you are saved from sin, you are saved from the love of sin. If Christ died for your sins, He will cause you to be born again with a life that wants to walk every step of the way in the obedience wherein He walked. With Paul you will say, “God forbid.” You will take hold of the truth in verse 23 that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is everlasting life. That means a life like that of Christ Who saved us. Read: Romans 6.

 

November 10

COMING AFTER CHRIST As was pointed out yesterday, salvation not only saves us from the punishment we deserve, but also from the love of sin. We must not take man’s word about this, but Christ’s. For in Mark 8:34 He says, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.” The point here is: that we come into heavenly glory only by coming after Christ. We must walk after Him in God’s holy law. And to do this we must deny ourselves and take up our cross, and follow Christ. In the beginning of history Adam turned away from God and went the way his flesh wanted. Yes, this was the way designed by Satan and suggested to man by him. Adam agreed to go the way of sin. We now must deny this evil desire wherewith we were born. That we take up our cross means that we willingly suffer what the world wants to inflict upon us. It cannot mean taking up Christ’s cross. On it He cried out that “It is finished.” It means that we suffer at Satan’s and his followers’ hands. It means that we confess Christ to be our Savior. And it means that we are willing to suffer the ridicule, mockery, and pain the world wants to inflict upon us. We must walk after Christ, no matter how much affliction the world heaps upon us. Only by following Christ will we arrive where He is in heavenly glory. No, we do not earn that glory by that walk. Christ paved the way to glory, and He gives the life and strength to follow Him. If we do not come after Him, we are coming against Him. Then we are not following Christ but following Satan; and that leads to hell and its everlasting woes. Deny your flesh and its love of sin. Confess God to be your God; and do this not simply with your lips. Do it with all your works. Come after Christ no matter what it costs physically. You will then have assurance of everlasting blessedness with Christ in glory. Read: Mark 8:34-38.

 

November 11

MAKING OUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE Are you sure that you are an elect child of God? No, the question is not whether you made it sure in God’s mind. When in II Peter 1:10 we read, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall,” this refers to our minds, not God’s. We cannot give God information which He does not eternally have. We cannot move Him to make a decision concerning our salvation. To mention that is to present a god over whom we have control. It is to deny that He is Jehovah, which name literally means I AM. And because He is Jehovah we can not change His mind, or bring into it something that is not eternally there. With us it is so different. We are sure that aches and pains, misery and grief are all around us, and that death is coming for us. What we as sinners deserve is everlasting torment in hell because of our guilt before God. We know that there are elect children of God, because the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation teach us that there are such. Beginning in Genesis 3:15 God made known that there are two seeds, those of the devil, and those of Christ. Our calling is to give diligence to make it sure in our minds that God called us to spiritual life and makes us know our eternal election. As noted yesterday, we must walk as Christ walked. Then we will receive the assurance that we are by God called to be His children, those for whom Christ died. Read repeatedly, and study God’s Word for this truth. Walk in love toward God, keeping His commandments. Seek the comfort and peace of mind that Christ died for your sins, by finding yourself walking here below as Christ did. Then you will make your calling and election sure in your mind, and you will find the peace that passeth all understanding. Read: II Peter 1:1-11.

 

November 12

THAT PERFECT PEACE There is that which has never been realized by man, and never will be accomplished by man, but is God’s perfect gift to us as believers. That gift is peace, perfect peace that will never end. The very first child to be born of man killed his first brother. And Scripture throughout speaks of wars and predicts more of them. All these wars are here because man began to fight against God. Satan got Adam and Eve to go against God by doing what He had forbidden them. World War I and World War II are only pictures of what is coming. But a wonderful and blessed truth is presented to us in Isaiah 26:3. There we read, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Here is THE peace that passeth all understanding. Here is the perfect and everlasting peace. For here is peace with God. Then all is well. Where there is no peace with God, there is no peace among men. Of that we can be sure. It is because God sent His own Son into our flesh, so that He could blot out our sins and remove all our guilt, by His life of perfect obedience and His death and suffering of hellish agony which we deserve, that today and everlastingly we can have peace with God, and will live together in perfect peace in His coming Kingdom of Heaven. Having peace with God we have no reason to be afraid of what happens in this world wherein we live now. It all is due to what God does to realize the day when His Son returns and brings forth a world of perfect peace, a world wherein all men love God and reveal this in love to one another. Trusting in God means that we accept Him as God alone. It also means that we have no doubt as to whether He will keep His promises. It means that we are sure all is well, because He is the almighty, ever-faithful God, Who has already brought His Son to this perfect peace to bring us there. Read: Isaiah 26.

 

November 13

WHAT REALLY COUNTS In many ways people do not agree. Some people prefer this color, and the taste of this kind of fruit. Others prefer a different color for a coat or dress, and this food rather than that. For some, the more money they have the richer they think that they are. But in his wisdom, wealthy Solomon, as moved by God, wrote in Proverbs 15:16, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.” The best thing for us to have is the fear of God. Earthly treasures can bring joy to our flesh. But the fear of God assures us of everlasting blessedness in God’s kingdom. Now, by fear of the Lord Solomon means faith, reverence, respect for God. The most precious possession we can have in this life is trust and confidence in God as our heavenly Father, Who sent His Son to earn our salvation by His cross. Yes, we become rich by losing! We must lose all our guilt. Every sin must be blotted out, or we go to everlasting woe. All the gold and silver in the world, all the houses and lands, cannot remove the punishment of ONE sin! In fact, the more earthly goods we have, the more we are tempted to forget God, to walk in sin, and to have no thought for salvation. What counts is what we have in our hearts, not in our pockets or bank account. What is most precious is faith, hope, and love of God. And all the material possessions which we have in this life should be used to cause our faith to grow and to be strengthened. The material must be used to the strengthening of our spiritual life. What counts is what is in Christ and what brings us to live with Him and to serve God perfectly. Thank God for that spiritual gift of God’s grace: faith in Him. And use material things for a deeper and richer enjoyment of the spiritual wealth that Christ earned for us. Read: Matthew 6:19-34.

 

November 14

SEEING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN It is amazing what we see today that men could not see in days gone by. Today we can see what is happening on the other side of this earth while it is taking place. Television is an amazing device which man learned how to make. Today we see things in full color, and hear the words spoken as they come out of a man’s mouth on the other side of the earth. What counts, however, is what our God does and says to man. A few there are that hear and see what He is doing, and what He says to us. Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Here we have what it counts to see. Do not see the kingdom of heaven, and you will some day see hell and all the holy wrath of God against sin and sinners. What is more, that we will see (i.e., enjoy) all the blessings of God’s kingdom is possible because of what God does to us, not what we invent, find, or make. We must be born again, that is, receive a new spiritual life from God in our souls. In fact, if we are not born again we will not even care to see the kingdom of God, and we will fight against those who are its citizens. All those who were not born again, and who did not see the kingdom of God, when they saw Christ, its king, killed Him, not having any interest in His kingdom. We see that kingdom because God caused us to be born again. We see Christ, His Son, as the door which opened the way for us, who were born again, to enter with our souls at the moment of death, and with our bodies when Christ returns. Pray then unto God that He will give you to see more of that kingdom, to see it more clearly, and more in detail, as what He wrought for us through His Son and His cross and resurrection and ascension up into heaven. Read: Romans 9:14-26.

 

November 15

SAVED THROUGH FAITH Never should we claim to be saved because of what we did. It is true that we are saved through faith, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8. But God does not offer salvation and wait to see whether we accept it or not. He is not limited by our will and work. It is true what Paul said to the jail keeper: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). This was his answer to the prison keepers question, “What must I do to be saved?” But take note of the fact that the very question asked by this jail keeper reveals that God had already begun the work of salvation in him. He had implanted in his soul the desire for salvation. God does not “offer” salvation and wait to see whether sinners are going to let Him save them. That insults the almighty God. He is never frustrated by any creature. He does not depend upon man’s will and work. No, Paul tells this jailer that if he believes, and if those in his house believe, then salvation has already been begun in them by God, and will be fully accomplished when Christ returns on the judgment day. For we are saved by grace, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-10). God’s grace gives us the new spiritual life that wants salvation, wants spiritual life that believes in Christ as our Savior. Believe, and you know that God has begun it. Believe, and that means that already you have been engrafted into Christ by faith as God’s gift. We are saved through faith, not because we believe by our own power. We are saved by God, not by letting God save us by “accepting” His “offer.” God saves us by making us to be believers. Then He brings salvation into our consciousness. If we are saved, we will thank God for every bit of our salvation, and confess Him to be our complete Savior. Read: John 3:1-21.

 

November 16

VICTORIOUS BY FAITH There is a striking statement in I John 5:3. There John states that God’s commandments are not grievous. If we are really serious and sincere, we will confess that it is awfully hard for us, even years after being born again, to keep God’s commandments. Even that strong servant, the apostle Paul, said, “0 wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). The comforting truth, however, is found in I John 5:4, where we read, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Faith is God’s gift to us that enables us to have the victory over the world, but also over our flesh. If we have faith in God, and in His Son Jesus Christ as our Savior, the undeniable evidence that we were born again, that is, born with a new spiritual life that loves God, is manifest. Never, before we were born physically, could we do anything. And likewise, before we were born again with that new spiritual life, we could not even desire to keep God’s commandments. Here we are taught again that our salvation is all God’s work. God causes us to be born again. We do no more for that spiritual rebirth than we did for our physical birth. We did not ask our parents to bring us forth into this world. We could not before our conception and birth even want to come into being. Our spiritual rebirth, and our salvation from beginning onward, are not what we wanted to have come into being. All of our salvation, including the desire for it, is God’s gift to us. He gives us the victory then over our spiritual death. We have the victory over the world, to which by nature we belong, because of what God did. We do and must sing: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” Faith is one of these blessings for which we owe Him everlasting thanks. Read: I John 5.

 

November 17

Ordained To Everlasting LIFE Ask a man what “life” is, and he will probably have a different idea from that of the next man whom you ask. He may even say, “I do not know.” The world sings the song, “Ah, sweet mystery of life.” But believers turn to God’s Word and say that it means knowing God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent. This we read in John 17:3 where Jesus says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” He who does not know God does not have an everlasting life. He comes into the world spiritually dead. For, did not God tell Adam that the day he committed his first sin, he would die spiritually? Because he did sin, all earthly fathers bring forth children who are spiritually dead. These children have a physical life, but not one bit of spiritual life. Everlasting life comes from the eternal God, and only unto those whom He eternally chose in Christ. Our God sent Christ to earn a life of heavenly bliss for us, an everlasting life of knowing God. This does not mean simply knowing about God. The devil knows that, and the minute men die they will know that there is one God, against Whom they sinned all their life. What Jesus means is that everlasting life is enjoying covenant fellowship with Him. That is life! That is what God promises us and what is realized for us through His Son. Everlasting life is enjoying the blessedness that God has realized for us through His Son. Do you want to know God that way? Do you want to know Him as the true God Who keeps every word of His promises, and will give His people that everlasting joy of living with Him in holiness and glory? If that is your desire, you now have proof that He has begun giving you everlasting life already. And you are going to know it fully. Read: John 17.

 

November 18

BEING SOBER CHILDREN OF GOD To be sober means to be serious- minded by putting away silliness and flippancy. But basically it means not being drunken. Drunkenness does bring on silliness and flippancy; but when in I Thessalonians 5:8 Paul wrote, “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation,” he means that we are not spiritually drunken but sober. This is plain from the fact that in the preceding verse he had written that they that be drunken are drunken in the night. We ought to take hold of that awesome truth that our God has brought us out of spiritual drunkenness into heavenly sobriety. The sad fact is, however, that worldly riches and pleasures do make us spiritually drunken. For our flesh enjoys forgetting God, and doing as Satan caused Adam to do. As spiritually drunken we follow thousands of ways of seeking and enjoying forbidden fruit, that is, enjoying sins of every kind. We behave as spiritually drunken members of the human race. Because Satan is attacking us every day through man and earthly riches, we must be armed with faith, hope, and love of God. For, as Paul presents it, we need faith and love as a breastplate in our spiritual battle; and we need hope as the helmet for the protection of our heads. But only as we are spiritually sober can we use this breastplate and helmet. In His grace God has brought us spiritual sobriety. By all means do not despise this gift, but cherish it and be thankful for it. As Paul writes, let us be sober, use that breastplate and helmet, and resist all the attacks of Satan. For in the day in which we live Satan has so many more, and more subtle, means of tempting us to spiritual drunkenness. By God’s grace we are soldiers in the battle of faith. Let us not be so foolish as to lay aside our breastplate of faith and love and our helmet of hope, that it will not protect us. Read: I Thessalonians 5:1-11.

 

November 19

THAT BREASTPLATE OF FAITH AND LOVE Yesterday we took note of a fierce and subtle spiritual battle that we have with Satan, through men who have no faith in and love for God, and who attack us. Today we do well to look more closely at Paul’s exhortation to put on the breastplate of faith and of love. It certainly is plain that Paul is speaking here of a spiritual battle. Faith and love are a spiritual breastplate for us in a spiritual battle, not in a physical warfare. We must protect ourselves but not by a steel, brass, metallic breastplate, when Satan is trying to get us to turn away from Christ and God, and to walk in unrighteousness. In Ephesians 6:14 Paul makes this very clear. For there he writes, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Our breastplate of faith and love is the breastplate of righteousness. Our protection against all that which Satan uses, to stop us from holding on to righteousness, is to believe God in all that which He tells us about our salvation. It is also love toward God that keeps us walking in righteousness, rather than going with Satan in unrighteousness, as Satan got Adam and Eve to do. We are therefore, as Paul warns the Ephesians, saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). Faith causes us to know and believe that we are righteous in God’s judgment, and that we love Him, and are thankful to Him for having saved us from our guilt by His Son and His cross. Hold on to that truth, and do not let Satan work unbelief in you and cause you to hate God. He succeeded in this devilish work in Adam and Eve. But God has given us faith and love for Him. Hold on to these, and keep on that breastplate of faith and love. Be a soldier who fights against Satan and his seed; and be not a sinner revealing unbelief and hatred against God. Read: Ephesians 6:10-18.

 

November 20

LOVE THAT PRODUCES LOVE In I John 4:19 we find this instructive and beautiful truth, namely, “We love him, because he first loved us.” This not only explains why we love God, but also how it is possible for us to love Him. Because God loves us He causes us to love Him. That is why Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that we can put on the breastplate of faith and love (II Thessalonians 5:8). Love of God will keep us safe when Satan and his army try, as they constantly are trying, to get us to hate God, and to repeat Adam’s sin of doing what God forbids. The love God has for us produces in us love for God. And that love, as well as faith, is the breastplate that protects us when Satan attacks us through men and things. Love of God enables us to be Christians and to protect ourselves spiritually from all the attacks of antichristians. Satan is antichristian, for the word “anti” means “against.” And being against Christ is to be against God, Who sent Him for our salvation. Christians have Christ by His Spirit in them. Antichrists and antichristians have Satan as their father. They constantly go against Christ. But through Christ God implants love for Him in us and hatred against Satan and his army. Christ revealed to us His love for us when He laid down His life on His cross. He did this with a view to implanting the love of God in us. And when He implants that love of God in us, we are willing to die at the hands of the enemy, even as He did, and to continue to walk in love toward God. The awesome question, therefore, is whether you do love God. The question is not merely whether it looks as though you love God. The question is whether you do love Him, and are willing to fight all the attempts of Satan to get you to walk in hatred towards God. By all means let the love of God, given you through Christ, make you resist all temptations to walk in sin. Let your love of God be the shield that protects your soul, and produces a walk of love toward God. Read: I John 4: 1-19.

 

November 21

HOPE AS THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOULS Our hearts are not the only organ that decides what we are going to do. Our minds work with the heart. We may with our hearts want something very strongly, but because our mind sees that what we crave may kill us, we do what our mind says, and not what our heart wants. That is also why Paul, having told us to put on the breastplate of faith and love, tells us also to put on the helmet of the hope of salvation. This truth is based on what we find in Hebrews 6:19, where we read, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the souls, both sure and steadfast.” Is it not unique that in I Corinthians 13:13 Paul speaks of faith, hope, and love? The word translated as “charity” actually is the strongest word for “love” in Scripture. In I Thessalonians 5:8 Paul spoke of faith and love being our breastplate, and hope being our helmet in the battle of faith. These are three very, very important things in our lives. What we believe, what we love, and what our hope is has tremendous importance. Hope is not merely wishing. Its basic meaning is expecting what we desire to have. When then in Hebrews 6:19 it is called the anchor of our souls, we can see why it makes us steadfast when Satan through men comes to keep us from being sober, and to make us spiritually silly and foolish. In all our temptations we must have upon us the helmet of hope. Otherwise we are going to be spiritually shipwrecked. We are going to be swept into hell! Only the expectation of what Christ earned for us, and God promises us, will keep us living wisely and safely. By God’s grace then seek the strengthening of your hope, so that in every temptation you may say, as Jesus did, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” Do not let him deceive you and make you long for that which sweeps man into hell. By reading and by study of God’s Word, seek the strengthening of your hope. In that way keep on your head the helmet of hope, and stand firmly in safety. Read: Hebrews 6.

 

November 22

THE THANKSGIVING OF THE UPRIGHT There are times when one is very sad; and there are moments of great joy. There are times when we are glad that we got something we wanted; and there are times when we have lost what we had. But an important question is whether we are thankful to our God no matter what it is that He sends us, or takes from us. A truth we ought to consider is found in Psalm 140: 13. There David says, “Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name; the upright shall dwell in thy presence.” The question then is whether we shall give thanks to God no matter what He sends us. For the text states that the righteous give thanks, and that means that they do the right thing. Righteous people do what is right in God’s sight. And the righteous, according to Romans 8:28, know that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” All things, not merely some things. Loss as well as gain; health but also sickness; death as well as life work together for our good. We give thanks, do we not, for what we consider to be good? We have then the astounding truth that our calling is always to give thanks to God for all that which He does, whether it hurts our flesh or brings it pleasure. Look also at I Corinthians 15:57. There Paul states, “Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through Christ comes our salvation. And because He is Lord of all at God’s right hand, all that which He sends us and which He causes to happen to us and around us is for our good. Let us therefore examine our souls and lives. Are we a thankful people? Do we really believe that all things work together for our good? Is this or that physical loss a gain for us? Do we always believe that all things work together for good to those that love God? Note what David wrote: The upright shall dwell in God’s presence. Are you in God’s presence when He sends things that hurt the flesh? Be sure that He works all things together for good for each child of God. Read: Psalm 140.

 

November 23

WALKING AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT In Ephesians 5:8 we read, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” To understand this we should take note of what is written in I John 1:5. There we are told that “God is light, and in him is no darkness.” This means that God is holy. And that we came into this world as darkness means that we came in as unholy, and thus as sinners. For we all fell with Adam. Now we are called to walk a holy, sinless life. We are called to do only that which pleases God, only that of which He approves. That we now are light in the Lord means that Christ has made us holy, that is, those who hate sin and love what pleases God. Through the cross of Christ we became righteous, that is, not guilty; but by His Spirit we become holy. We are therefore people who love God and who can, by the new life which God gives us, do what is pleasing in His sight. Now to walk as children of light we must walk as Christ walked. He never committed one sin. Never had He had a sinful thought or desire; and never did He break the smallest part of any of God’s commandments. Since He is the Son of God, He is light; and surely He is a perfect example for us to follow. It is true that Satan tried to get Him to sin; but Jesus told him to get behind Him and quit his tempting. Satan comes every day trying to get us to be unholy; and we need to pay attention to this call to walk as children of light. Those who walk as Christ did are Christians. They reveal it in what they do. Stand therefore before the mirror of God’s Word to see every step of your earthly life; and then you may know whether you are a Christian, one with the life of Christ in you. Are God and Christ manifest in your life? Do men see you as a child of light? If you walk in the light, you will live with Christ in glory. Read: I John 1:1—2: 6.

November 24

THAT BLESSED RECONCILIATION What does salvation mean to you? From what do you want to be saved? As a child of God you are going to say that you want to be saved from sin. The question however is, What do you mean by salvation from sin? It is so easy for our flesh to say that we want to be saved from all the aches and pains of life here below, from death and all that everlasting punishment in hell which comes upon all those who hate God. With all the unbelievers we want to be saved from God’s wrath and the punishment which it brings. We are right, if we want all this with a view to something deeper, something which is the heart of our salvation. We must want to be saved from our act of sin, not simply from its punishment. Paul presents this so beautifully in Colossians 1:21, when he writes, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” That is what we need and need first. We need to be reconciled, that is, to be changed spiritually, if we are to have our life changed physically by relief from all the punishment of sin. It means that we want to be saved from our hatred toward God, and to be given a deep, abiding love toward Him. It means that we want to be able to do only that which pleases our God. Do you find that in your heart and mind? That must be there, or you are not one whose body and soul are saved from all the punishment of God’s curse. When God told Satan that He would put enmity in our hearts against him, so that there would be love of God in us, He spoke of the heart of our salvation. It will come not only by Christ’s heel being crushed, but by His Spirit implanting hatred against sin in our hearts. Look deeply then into your soul. Look for love of God in that soul. And if you find a desire to be saved from sin, you can be sure that God will save you from the punishment of sin. Reconciliation is a blessed pearl of our salvation that assures us of glorification. Read: Colossians 1:1-22.

 

November 25

SURE OF OUR CALLING AND ELECTION There is a reason why our God tells us in Scripture that His name is Jehovah. For a truth to which we must hold on to tightly is that He is unchangeable. Never may we say that He was or will be different from what He is now. He Himself says in Malachi 3:6, “1 am the Lord, I change not.” In fact, the Hebrew word translated here as “Lord” actually is “Jehovah,” which means “I Am.” Thus here He says, “I am the I Am.” When then we read in II Peter 1:10 that we must “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fail,” we take the position that Peter is speaking here of what we have and desire, not what God will do and desires. We can become doubtful about our salvation and calling as well as our election. We must make sure in our hearts that God called us and elected us eternally and unchangeably. We must give diligence for the confirmation of this in our minds. We must strive to obtain assurance, by a holy walk of life, that we are God’s children who will receive everlasting blessedness. For in verses 4-9 he tells us that if we lack faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, we are blind, cannot see afar off, and have forgotten that God purged us of our sins through His Son and His cross. We do not make our calling and election sure in God’s mind. It is sure in Him Who is the I Am and changes not. Very urgent therefore is our calling here to strive to grow in faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. For as we do that we become sure in our minds that God called us to be His children, and did so because He eternally elected us to be such. The important question here is whether our walk of life gives us this assurance that God called us and elected us to be His covenant people. Take hold then of this word to give diligence to become stronger in your faith that you are a child of God. Read: II Peter 1

 

November 26

A CALL TO TRY THE SPIRITS Ever since Satan succeeded in getting Adam and Eve to fall into sin, through his lie about what God said, we have the calling to be sure that those who “preach the gospel” do indeed bring forth the “good news” of our salvation through Christ and His cross and Spirit. Satan did not after his victory quit bringing false doctrines to man. Instead he has increased his intensity, especially after Christ’s birth, cross, resurrection, and ascension to God’s right hand. He, the Deceiver, is today working very hard with his lie that we can become gods through sin. The form of his lie changes, but that makes it even more deceitful and dangerous. Therefore we should hold on to the truth, and to the calling which we find in I John 4:1. There we read, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” We should heed this warning, because there is such a strong effort put forth by Satan today to promote a wrong harmony and peace in the church world, by compromises rather than by clearer and richer understanding of that which God says in His Word. The tendency today is to get bigger in numbers, rather than richer in the truth. The preaching seeks to please man’s flesh rather than to glorify God. The aim is to make men happy about fleshly advantages, rather than bout glorification of our God and His Son. The question we must try to answer is whether the preaching glorifies God and sets Him forth as the holy God that He is. It is God Himself Who through John calls us to try the spirits that preach. If they are of God, they are going to call us to glorify Him, not change His Word for the glory of man’s flesh. Be concerned then with God’s glory. Defend the truth that all of our salvation is His gift to us, including the desire for that salvation. That is what He declares in His Word. Try, that is, test, the spirits that preach. Read: I John 4:1-6

 

November 27

THE REVELATION OF THE MAN OF SIN Sin is in a sense like man in that there was a moment in time when sin was conceived and born, and through the years has grown and will soon present in the world the Man of Sin. We have the warning in Scripture that this man of sin is coming. In II Thessalonians 2:3 Paul wrote, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” What Paul says here is that sin will reach a climax before Christ returns to bring His church to glory. Of this return he spoke in the preceding verses. He calls attention to the Thessalonians, that they were taught the false doctrine that Christ was coming in their lifetime. How correct Paul was, for now, almost 2,000 years later, Christ still has not returned. The Thessalonians had been taught that which was not the truth. This was not a false doctrine of the world, but one taught in the churches. It was preached by men whom one would be inclined to believe, because they did preach some undeniable truths. This demonstrates why what we considered yesterday is so important. We must try the spirits whether they are of God. We may be sure that the richer the truth is in a church, the more feverishly Satan works to get his false doctrines there. Satan is sly, crafty, and extremely dangerous. Today, as we rush toward the days of the Anti-Christ, we should be very careful, and alert to the fact that Satan is trying to get us to eat, with our souls, forbidden fruit, doctrines that God commands us not to eat. It is revealing that God moved John to call him, who will be Satan’s most powerful and crafty tool, the Antichrist. “Anti” means “against.” There are many today who are in the church but against Christ as tools of Satan. It is well for us to be warned, as we approach the day of that Antichrist’s coming. Satan deceived Adam and Eve; and he is trying to deceive us today. READ: II THESSALONIANS 2.

 

November 28

GOD’S GIFT OF SALVATION Never, no never, should we accept and believe that which denies God His glory, and makes Christ’s salvation dependent upon what man does. Let us avoid all teachings which are a modern form of Satan’s lie to Adam and Eve, that man can by his works become a god. Our works do not determine whether we are going to obtain salvation. Our salvation, as God’s work, determines whether we are those whom Christ saves. We need to be saved from the lack of interest in salvation. God must and does give to His elect even the desire for salvation. If we desire salvation we have the evidence that God has already begun that work in us, and will finish it when Christ returns. A very important truth which God gave us through Paul is found in Philippians 2: 13. There we read, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Note that all that God works in us is not due to what we gave Him. HE works in us to will as well as to do. We believe and want salvation; but it is God Who makes us want that salvation. He gives us all of our faith. Notice carefully that Paul says that God works in us, and that we must work out that salvation. God commands us to believe, but He also gives us the desire and power to do so. Note that God through Paul here tells us that He works in us to will as well as to do of His good pleasure. Before we can will and believe, God has already caused us to be born again. He does not wait to see whether spiritually dead people will believe and “accept” salvation. Be careful then and take a strong hold on the truth that even our desire for salvation is God’s gift to us. WE cannot give God anything that He has not already given us. In Him we live and move and have our being, physically but also spiritually. Read: Philippians 2:1-12.

 

November 29

THE CHURCH’S CERTAIN SAFETY In the Old Testament the church is presented as having a host of enemies. For a long time all the members of the church of God lived in a small section of this earth, namely, the land of Canaan. Today the church is scattered over all the earth in every nation, tongue, and tribe. It pleases our God to gather the members of the body of Christ, His church, from far and wide, from all types of people. Whereas in the old dispensation the church was limited mostly to the Jewish race, now it is gathered from every color, race, and nationality. Even as our bodies have different kinds of members, and need different kinds of members, so the church has different kinds of people from a physical point of view. Even though the church has only a handful of people, compared with the millions upon millions of those outside that church, we have a very comforting truth concerning us in Deuteronomy 33:28. There we find Moses stating, as God’s mouthpiece, “Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon the land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.” We do well to take note of the fact that the church shall dwell in safety alone, and that its members shall have all that which we need. That corn, wine, and dew must be taken figuratively. These literally will not be in the new Jerusalem that is coming when Christ returns. What we have here is that word of comfort which God gives His church. She is safe. We do correctly sing, “Safe in the arms of Jesus.” The church has that calling which we considered yesterday. She has a host of enemies, a number greater than we can count. But all is well. And as we approach the days of the Antichrist, as pictured in Revelation 13, we need not fear. The almighty God is our protector and savior. God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of need, and trouble (Psalm 46). Read: Deuteronomy 33:26-29.

 

November 30

SAFE IN GOD’S ALMIGHTY ARMS What a comforting truth! What an evidence that all is well with God’s church! We are rushing toward the day when the Antichrist, as pictured in Revelation 13, will rule the world and persecute God’s church. But take hold of that truth which we find in Deuteronomy 33:27, which makes possible what we read of in the next verse. There, as moved by God, Moses declares, “The eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” Our God, the only true God, is eternal. He has everlasting arms that can and will destroy our enemies completely. Yea, He will cause all of His own children to reach everlasting heavenly blessedness. That does not mean that we are not going to suffer and die physically, and that many of us will not be killed by Satan’s army. Revelation 13 shows us that this will happen to many believers. But Satan, and all his host together, cannot take one bit of strength out of God’s arms. These arms will have everlasting power of infinite might that will cause to happen everything that He promises us. He is the eternal God, and He is our refuge eternally. His almighty arms are under us and will carry us away from Satan and all his hatred, and into His house of many mansions through Christ. We will all reach all the glory that He promised us in Christ. Do not for one split second question His power or faithfulness. Remember that Jesus cross made it all look hopeless; but it served the preparation of our way to heavenly glory in God’s everlasting power and grace. He was our refuge there; and He is our refuge every moment of time with His arms underneath us to carry us to glory. In His wisdom and power He used Satan so that Christ was crucified to earn a place for us in heavenly glory. Put all your trust in Him; and be sure that His arms are carrying you to victory, and using Satan and his servants to serve us, not hurt us. Read: Psalm 48.

As you know, Young People, the day you were born you were not able to walk, or even to crawl. In fact, although you were born with legs and feet, you had to be carried, and have food brought unto you. You could cry for that food, and thereby could express your desire for it. but you came into this world with tremendous physical needs, and you needed help for your life.

What we should also bear in mind is the awesome truth presented in Scripture. When born physically, we also needed to be born spiritually, with a new life, in order to know and enjoy the salvation, which God prepares for His elect. This is presented so clearly in John 3:3. There we read: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Still more, in II Timothy 2:22 we read: “Flee from youthful lusts; but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Now youthful lust is the sinful desire of the flesh, that lets Satan lead us, and get us to walk in ways of hatred against God. Yes, that is so very, very true. We walk in love of God, or we walk in hatred against Him. It always is either…or. We do what God wants us to do, or we do what Satan desires to have us do. We walk in love toward God; or we walk in hatred against Him, and in what Satan wants us to do. We walk as children of God, or as children of the devil.

Take note of the fact that our God, through the Apostle Paul, commands us, in the words above, to flee from “youthful lusts.” The older we get, the more we by nature grow in our sinful nature. Little children do not and cannot commit some of the sins which adults walk in and defend. That is why, in the verse quoted above, we have sinful lusts, all through our earthly lives.

As you know, Adam and Eve, those first two adults, were by Satan gotten to have sinful lusts, and thus to begin to walk against God. And all men now come through their fathers and mothers into a life of sinful flesh, turned away from God. He told Adam, as we read in Genesis 2:17, that if he committed his first sin, he would die, that is, die spiritually. And, dying spiritually, Adam and Eve could not bring forth any kind of children, but those who were spiritually dead.

We must constantly bear in mind that we either walk in love toward God, or in hatred against Him. Every person who came into this world, as born of a father and mother, is spiritually dead. Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, had no earthly father, and had no sinful nature. But every other born child of man is spiritually dead, until God causes him to be born again. In John 3:3 we read: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.”

The blessed gift of God, in His grace, is to cause those He eternally chose in Christ to have a new spiritual life of love towards Himself. Therefore, if we love God, it is because He in love caused us to be born again spiritually. He causes us to have a new, pure heart that enables us, and causes us, to walk in love towards Him. We come into this world with the need of a pure heart; and by God’s grace we will be given it; and will know it, by what God enables and moves us to do. We do absolutely nothing to begin salvation in us. Even the desire for it is due to what God has already given to us, and done in us.

Remember that God told Satan that He would put enmity between him and Eve, and between his seed and the woman’s. Just look up Genesis 3:15, and take solid hold of that truth. If we love God, it is because of what He did in us, and does not do in all the human race that came out of Adam and Eve. Christ Jesus, our Savior, was born of a woman; but He has no earthly father, and was not born with a sinful nature. Every other child, born by an earthly father and mother is born spiritually dead. Just look up Genesis 2:17, Ephesians 2:1, and Colossians 2:13.

God told Adam that he would die the day that he would commit the sin of eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. And we are told by God through Paul that we, who are “dead in trespasses and sin,” by God’s grace receive a “pure heart.” We by God’s grace are quickened, that is, are made to be spiritually alive. Just look up Colossians 2:13. There we are told that “You, being dead, in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him (that is with Christ) having forgiven you all trespasses.” We do call upon God with a pure heart, because of what He does in us, beginning salvation in us by His grace.

In Psalter Number 94, based on Psalm 36 we read in the fourth stanza: “The fountain of eternal life is found alone with Thee, And in the brightness of Thy light We clearly light shall see.” We also sing that beautifully from Psalter Number 383:1. There we sing: “All that I am I owe to Thee: Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me; I give my Maker thankful praise, Whose wondrous works my soul amaze.” This is based upon Psalm 139:14.

The awesome question is whether we do call upon God with a spiritually pure heart. The only way that we can do that is that work of God’s grace, whereby He implanted in us a new spiritual life. He promised that in Genesis 3:15. There He predicted putting enmity between His elect and Satan. He promised giving His elect a clean, spiritually pure heart. He told Satan that; and He always keeps every word of His predictions and promises.

God gives His elect a pure heart, which has the desire and ability of calling Him our God, loving Him, and serving Him as the only God, and almighty God. Are you thankful for such a gift of God in you, Young People? You will, if He had begun it in you. Such a pure heart is so wonderful and important; and it reveals that you do have a God-given pure heart.

Indeed, it is wonderful, and a God-given gift when God saves us from the punishment, which we by nature deserve. But the basic element in our salvation is the gift of love of Him. He removes our guilt, and the punishment which we deserve. But the basic element in our salvation is that He takes from us our natural hatred of Him, and of His law. To be a Christian is to be made like Christ. It is to make us love God, and want to do what He wants us to do.

Just look at what God said to Satan, the day when he got Adam and Eve to hate God, and do what He forbids man to do. He told Satan that He was going to work enmity against Satan in the hearts of His elect. That is what God promises to do in those whom He eternally chose in Christ, to be His covenant people. Doing that He makes them able to be delivered from the punishment which they do deserve.

Go back to that verse quoted at the beginning of this article. We are called by God to call on Him “out of a pure heart.” Salvation is not merely, or in the first place, deliverance from the pain and punishment which as sinners we deserve. Many people merely want that; but the basic element of our salvation is implanting the desire to walk in love of God, and serve Him with heart, mind, soul and strength. Basically, salvation is deliverance from the love of sin, supplanted by love of God. If we do not want that, we do not want the salvation earned by Christ Jesus, our Savior.

When we desire a pure heart, one that loves God, we have the basic element of our salvation. Then we want to flee from youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord, out of a pure heart. And that means that God is going to make us spiritually perfect with body and soul, when Christ returns at the end of time, as we now know it and experience it.

Wanting to be saved from our love of sin, and become God’s holy people, reveals that God did begin salvation in us, and will bring it to its fullness. Having a pure heart reveals that we are enjoying God’s love of us, making us creatures who love Him fully and eternally. Salvation is not merely relief from the punishment which we deserve. Basically, it is deliverance from Satan and sin, as children of God, who love Him and in that love want to glorify Him, by all that which we desire and do.

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Rev. Heys is a retired minister of the Protestant Reformed Churches. He is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Michigan.

December 1

Read Revelation 22:12-21.

Having entered the last month of this year, we have the awesome truth that we are closer to the end of this present world. For God has planned a certain day when Christ Jesus, our Saviour, will return. And, as we read a moment ago, He will come quickly with His reward. On that day His elect will not become afraid, but will be comforted fully. Does it comfort you that Christ is soon coming? Or does it fill you with terror? On that day God’s promise to all His elect will be fulfilled; and they will enter with body and soul into an endless joyful life with their body and soul. Just look up all the blessedness presented in this last chapter in the Bible.

 

December 2

Read Isaiah 9:6.

Do you appreciate the truth which you read yesterday? You read the very comforting truth which we should consider, and for which God’s elect are thankful. The believing children of God are spiritually those who love God, having a new spiritual life. And the Almighty God will send His Son as the Prince of Peace. Yes, this world is coming to its end. But look forward, and sing a new song to Jehovah, for the wonders He has wrought. Christ Jesus, our Saviour, when He returns brings to this earth a wonderful salvation of our bodies as well as our souls. Christ, the Prince of Peace, is scheduled to come and bring all the elect into heavenly glory with body and soul.

 

December 3

Read Psalm 25:14.

Has God revealed to you His covenant with its promise? If He did His secret is made known to you. For His secret will be fully revealed when His Son returns to glorify all His elect. Your physical eyes cannot see the rich blessedness of God’s covenant. But the souls of His elect, born again people, will sing with their hearts. They will sing: “All that I am I owe to Thee. Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.” The awesome truth is whether we sing that truth with our hearts, as well as with our lips. We owe God thanks for every bit of our hearts, as well as with our lips. We owe God thanks for every bit of our salvation. God’s wisdom saves our souls as well as our bodies. And He does not at all save our bodies, unless He has already saved our souls.

 

December 4

Read Psalm 66:16.

What our God does for us through His Son is what really counts. In the verse quoted above we read of some awesome blessings. What counts is what God does for our souls. Salvation is by no means merely what God does to our bodies. It is indeed a precious part of our salvation; and we need bodies in order to serve Him in love. But there will be no blessedness for our bodies unless our souls are blest. If our souls are not saved, our bodies will have to be cast into hell. He certainly will glorify our bodies so that our glorified souls may serve Him in love. Do you want salvation of your soul, so that you may use your body in acts of love of God? Then, indeed, you do want salvation.

 

December 5

Read Acts 5:31.

Does your heart have the joy of that salvation realized by our Saviour? Do you have the joy of forgiveness of all of your sins? Especially do you have the joy of being given love of God? If you have that, you have been exalted by God’s right hand, whereby He exalted Christ Jesus as our Saviour, in order to give us repentance and forgiveness of our sins. Are you aware of, and sure of that salvation? By God’s grace we have that joy, and see Christ Jesus as our Saviour. Then we will be spiritually happy, and confident that all things are working together for our everlasting good, and fellowship with God in heavenly glory.

 

December 6

Read John 3:3-8.

That we are born again, and this time spiritually, is extremely important. Do you enjoy what we read in verse 3? Do you see the kingdom of God? Do you want to live in the New Jerusalem that is coming? The question is not merely whether you want to be saved from the punishment which you deserve. Mere deliverance from that punishment does not reveal love of God, but enjoyment of our flesh. Our text speaks of being born again, and this time born spiritually. Thank God for such a wonderful gift. God promises us a new spiritual life; and sent His Son for that blessedness. Have it, and you have a sign of God’s love in you. God’s love causes His elect to love Him. Have you found that love in you?

 

December 7

Read Genesis 2:16-17.

When created, Adam was told that a covenant relationship which he had would remain, if he did not commit one sin! God commanded Adam not to eat the fruit of one particular tree, and that he would die the moment he ate of that tree. Just read also in Genesis 3:17, that after committing his first sin, he would in sorrow live in sin. How necessary it is for us to pray to God for hatred of sin, and a constant desire to walk in love toward Him. Do you pray to God every day; and surely the minute you wake up in the morning, for spiritual strength? Keep in mind the fact that every day God’s calling is for us to walk as His covenant children.

 

December 8

Read Genesis 2:16-17.

The day God created mankind He revealed what man’s calling is. We are called to obey God, in all our thinking, willing and acting. He told Adam that one sin would bring death upon him. That does not merely mean that Adam would die physically. In fact he lived physically for nine hundred and thirty years. But spiritually Adam died the moment he committed his first sin. All his descendants came into being spiritually dead. How necessary then was it for our coming Saviour to come into our flesh by no act of a man. He was born of the Virgin Mary. He came in a way in which He could save us from our sin, and by God’s grace.

 

December 9

Read I Corinthians 3:16.

Born again we enter into a most wonderful life. Our God through Paul assured us that we may become the Temple of God. And that we are this is because God comes to dwell within us. Does it become evident to you that God is in you, dwelling there in His love? The question is whether you experience that blessed, wonderful truth. What you do with the members of your body reveals that God is very truly dwelling in you. Do you every day use your hands, feet, as well as your mouth in works that reveal that God dwelleth in you? Does what you say reveal that you are God’s temple, in which He is in His love?

 

December 10

Read Ezekiel 37:25.

Has God made a covenant of peace with you? The question is not whether He achieved peace, because you asked for it. Rather the question is whether God came into you and caused you to desire having Him as your Saviour. Was it because of what you did that God came into you? By nature we all do what Satan got Adam and Eve to do, namely, become their own gods. Just read Genesis 3:1-13. We do absolutely nothing that causes God to make us to be born again spiritually. By God’s grace we do sing: “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom Lord hath fashioned me,” Psalter Number 383:1. Be careful therefore, and hold tightly on to the truth that God causes us to be born again spiritually. Thanks be to God Who giveth us the victory.

 

December 11

Read Psalm 34:8-10.

In these verses we are called to do what assures us that we have no want. Our flesh often lacks things, and we have great wants. But those who fear God have everlasting blessedness. When Satan got Adam and Eve to turn away from God, they lost all the blessings which God created for mankind. They still had physical life for a time. But they lost all the blessings that they needed physically, and spiritually. For the basic need for us is to enjoy God’s love, and to use all things in order to glorify Him, with heart, mind, soul and strength. The basic need for mankind is to be able to walk in love toward God. Do you worship Him in love? That is our calling.

 

December 12

Read Psalm 111:10.

How wise are you? The question is not what the world taught you. But are you spiritually alive? Do you have the fear of the Lord? It is the beginning of wisdom. And fear, in this verse, is reverence, or if you will, it is respect. Fear here is awe. Basically the question is whether we respect God. We are wise when we love Him as our God. Do you keep His commandments because you love Him, as the one and only God? That fear, in the sense of respect, is His gift unto His elect. Did He choose you to become one who loves Him? Do you fear God from Whom all blessings flow?

 

December 13

Read Proverbs 28:13.

Do you confess your sins? And do you forsake them? Bear in mind that every sin is an act of hatred against God. Do you enjoy walking in hatred against God? Do you try to defend yourself in the sin you committed? We cannot prosper in any sin. When we reveal our hatred against God, we reveal that we deserve to be treated by God in His hatred. We cannot hide the smallest part of any sin. Trying to hide it is adding to that sin. And to enjoy God’s mercy we must confess our sins. Fail to do so, we add to our sins. Confess your sins and you reveal that God did send His Son for your salvation. God’s mercy causes His elect to confess their sorrow for their sins. Do you?

 

December 14

Read II Corinthians 8:9.

What a wonderful truth we find in this verse. It speaks of God’s grace. Do you find joy in this truth? God sent His own Son into death on His cross, because He loves all His elect, and realizes salvation for every one of them. Christ Jesus, His Son, suffered His crucifixion not only; but He suffered the punishment for which our sins call. As our Head He could, and did do that! What a manifestation of God’s grace! And the question is whether we do consider salvation to be a rich, precious gift. Do you merely want escape from its punishment? Or do you want deliverance from your love of sin? Are you eager to be holy, like Christ Jesus our Saviour? Is holiness riches in your judgement?

 

December 15

Read Proverbs 8:13.

How do you describe salvation? How rich are you spiritually? Do you hate evil? The awesome truth is that we either hate God, or we hate evil. We cannot love both of these. Do you appreciate the salvation which God has prepared through His Son? Or do you enjoy and seek what Satan got the human race to covet? By God’s grace Solomon pointed out clearly that we either hate God or we hate evil. We cannot desire both, and seek both of them at the same time, and in the same way. We hate what God hates, or we love what He loves and calls righteous. Is a change in your life coming, and also growing? We desire either…or. And we are Christians or Antichrists. The awesome question is what has God made us to be?

 

December 16

Read Romans 8:28.

Do all things in your life work together for good? Are you thankful for everything that happens in your life? If we are called for God’s purpose, we will agree with Paul that all things work together for our good. Yes, sickness and death are evil treatment which are sent upon us and worked together for our good, if we are children of God. What happened to Christ Jesus our Saviour, worked for our salvation. He was crucified, and died on His cross. But through His cross and death He prepared the way for all the elect to enter with both body and soul into the coming, glorious kingdom of Christ Jesus or Saviour. Be thankful for what God did for us through His Son.

 

December 17

Read Romans 6:23.

To appreciate what you read yesterday, you must confess that our coming death is God’s gift of eternal life, which is God’s gift to all His elect. Indeed, death is coming, and we cannot prevent it, because we cannot stop God from doing what He has eternally decided to do to us. But hold on tightly to the truth that through death God gives us eternal life. That He gives us through Jesus Christ our Lord. And keep in mind the comforting truth that all things work together for good for those whom God eternally chose in Christ. Eternal life is God’s gift through Jesus Christ our Lord. Sing again that glorious truth that “All that I am I owe to Thee,” Psalter Number 383 verse 1.

 

December 18

Read Psalm 121:2.

Can you, and do you agree with the Psalmist, who stated that his help cometh from God, Who made the heavens and earth? Is that your comfort? Is God helping you, when you fall into this or that affliction? Do you think that God never makes a mistake? If you believe that, you are absolutely correct. Our God is the Almighty One, Who has absolute control over every creature in heaven and on earth. He made heaven and earth; but He also has absolutely all control over every part and thing in heaven and on this earth. God never slumbers or sleeps. And He sees absolutely every creature in heaven, on earth and in hell. What a wonderful help cometh upon us by God’s grace.

 

December 19

Read Isaiah 44:22.

What a blessed promise from God is mentioned in the preceding verse. We must remember that God has not forgotten those whom He eternally chose in Christ Jesus, His Son in our flesh. God has redeemed us, in fact the whole group of those eternally chosen in Christ have had all their sins blotted out, and will eternally be dealt with as His loved ones. He blotted out every one of our sins; and He is constantly enabling us to return unto Him. And He will send His Son to complete our salvation fully, in His love and almighty power. He will glorify us by making us serve Him in love, fully and constantly. What a blessedness lies ahead for us by God’s grace!

 

December 20

Read Romans 8:37-39.

What, by God’s grace we lie in wait to receive, is glory above every other creature, and everlastingly. And now already we are assured of being more than conquerors. And of that, by His grace, we are persuaded already in this life. No creature, by God’s grace, can keep any one of God’s elect from the glory promised, even though Satan strives powerfully to kill us spiritually, as he did succeed in Adam’s and Eve’s lives. Death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present or things to come cannot separate the elect from God’s love of Himself. Does this cheer you, comfort you, and by God’s grace, cause you to fight the good fight of faith? Do you thank God for this gracious work which He performs?

 

December 21

Read Psalm 139:14.

By God’s grace we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And when He has begun that salvation in us, we will thank Him for making us fearful and wonderful. Indeed God’s work is marvelous. And one of the wonderful works God performed is that of making us knowing it and believing it. That work, David correctly states here, manifests itself by our thanks, and praise to God for that blessed gift. We do not earn one bit of our salvation. God works wonderfully and marvelously, making us His faithful, thankful children. Do you believe it and seriously sing your thankfulness for it? Does your walk of life reveal your trust in God, and thankfulness for what He does? By all means, get down on your knees and do that!

 

December 22

Read Luke 1:30-38.

An angel told Mary that she would have the birth of a Son, Who will be our Saviour; and that she give Him the name Saviour. She was told that He shall be great and be called the Son of the Highest Who will reign with a kingdom that will not ever end. Christmas then is not a day when we should be concerned with material gifts which others bestow upon us. Our calling is to be joyful because of what Christ Jesus will do, and does do in God’s grace. Do you look forward to the coming?

 

December 23

Read John 14:6.

Indeed we plan to go to God’s house to thank and worship Him for that blessed gift of His Son as our Saviour. The tremendous blessedness and beauty that God gives us through His Son is astounding. And each day we should look forward to praising God for the blessings which He causes to flow. He sent His Son so that we could come unto Him as the God of our salvation. Are you today looking forward to worshiping God on Sunday, because of what He realized for us through His Son? God is the way, and the life, whereby we are made able and willing to come to Him as our Father. He only is the way, the truth and the life; and by His grace He causes His elect to come unto Him through Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

 

December 24

Read Psalm 139:14.

The truth, which God’s born again children can and do declare, is that, at this time of the year, they look forward to celebrate the birth of our Saviour. They will also confess that they were fearfully and wonderfully made. Take note of the fact that, by God’s grace, we do confess this in praise unto God. By God’s grace we were by wonderful works made. And tomorrow when we go to God’s house of prayer we will observe what a wonderful work He performed by bringing forth His Son in our flesh. We will praise God for having been fearfully and wonderfully made as His elect. And by His grace we shall praise Him, for being fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

December 25

Read Matthew 1:23.

Today by God’s grace we celebrate that wonderful work of God’s grace, whereby He realized what is necessary for our salvation. He caused His Son to be born in our flesh, and that through the virgin Mary. Surely we could not bring forth a Saviour. By nature we cannot even want a saviour who would deliver us from our sins. We want to live in and enjoy sin. But by all means let your Christmas Day be filled with thankfulness to God for what He did on this day, which we call Christmas. Let your Christmas Day be filled with spiritual joy, for what God gave, not for what parents or friends gave you. Fill God’s church with thankfulness and praise for what He did. Let salvation be the most precious gift for which you thank God today.

 

December 26

Read Psalm 23 in all its truth.

Were you yesterday strengthened in you faith? Did the gift of material things fill you with more joy than what God gives to His elect? Can you with David say what is in this Psalm? Did God give you this precious gift of His Son, as the almighty Saviour, Who will bring all the elect into everlasting glory? Do you every day run unto God with your heart and mind, and thank Him for what He gave all His elect? Is God’s gift to His church far more wonderful than what people give us? Does your heart joyfully sing: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”? Is salvation a most blessed gift of God in your heart and mind?

 

December 27

Read John 14:1-3.

God had prepared for His elect His Son, as our Saviour. And through Him He has prepared a place for all the elect, where there are many mansions. The important thing is not whether we merely call ourselves Christians. Is our desire merely to be delivered from the terrible, everlasting punishment which our God casts on unbelievers? If we are truly Christians, we are like Christ, loving God and eagerly desiring to serve Him with all our heart and mind, and by all that which we do with our bodies. Are we like Christ, in the sense that we love God, and want to serve Him with every desire and act? As true Christians we want to flee from all sin and serve God with every thought, desire and act.

 

December 28

Read Psalm 27:4.

There is one thing that we desire, and which controls us in all our actions, if and when we are elect, born again children of God. As children of God we do desire to dwell with God on the Sabbath Day and to have sweet communion with Him, singing songs of praise concerning Him, but also unto Him. We do well to bear in mind that salvation is not simply deliverance from punishment. It by all means is deliverance from the love of sin wherewith we were born. We want to dwell with God in the sense of serving Him with heart, mind, soul and all our strength. We want that one thing in the sense that it enables us to learn how to walk in love of Him, and joyfully serve Him. That love of Him manifests our love of Him as our God, and as the only God in a world that has many idols who are loved and served.

 

December 29

Read Isaiah 49:16.

We are by God informed that He has engraved us upon His hands. And therefore our walls are continually before Him. Yes, all things are before Him in the sense that He sees everything that we do. We can hide absolutely nothing from Him, even though we foolishly, and sinfully try to hide our sins. The comforting truth is that He is preparing absolutely every one of His elect to be a particular part of His Church, of which Christ Jesus His Son is the Head. Our calling therefore is to fight the good fight of faith constantly and willingly. By God’s grace we will want to do that, and begin to do so. Be thankful often for what He has led you to do spiritually.

 

December 30

Read John 14:27.

What a blessed, comforting truth did our Saviour here declare. God leaves peace with His elect. Therefore we have no reason to fear what happens to us day by day, because of what Satan and those of his kingdom do. Absolutely every unbeliever, not eternally chosen by God, is used by Satan in his attempt to turn us away from God, and from our walk of love towards God. God gives us peace already in this life. After we are born again, Satan does not succeed as he did with Adam and Eve. God sent His Son to buy peace for us; and He also keeps that peace in every one of His elect. Put your trust in Him, and do not let Satan turn you away from God in any of your thoughts, desires or acts.

 

December 31

Read Hebrews 11:13.

What we should bear in mind, and consider on this last day in the year, is that the elect children of God are pilgrims and strangers on this earth; bearing in mind that the child of God’s life is unique, and very different from the life of the unbelievers. These children of God look forward to the heavenly fulfillment of God’s promises. And by faith these believing children of God believe that they are going to an everlasting blessedness in Christ’s Kingdom of Heaven. Does the end of this present year assure you of the end of this whole godless world of sin? Live in faith, and die with the confidence, yes, of entering the everlasting blessedness of being citizens of Christ’s glorious kingdom.

November 1

As we approach the end of this year, we come closer to the day when Christ Jesus, our Saviour, will come and bring all of His elect into the everlasting glory of the New Jerusalem. They will all dwell there with Him, and with new bodies and souls, in a heavenly blessedness, which God prepares in Christ Jesus, our Saviour. We will then have a more wonderful life than Adam and Eve had before they fell into sin. In fact we will have a more blessed life than the one the holy angels now have in heaven. How often, and how deeply do you Young People look forward to the day when Christ returns with the wonderful life which He earned for all of His elect? By all means look up, and read, Revelation 22:1-7. Does that truth written there fill you with joy?

 

November 2

In the verses considered yesterday, the souls of every one of God’s born-again elect will see Christ face to face, and have His Name on their foreheads. They shall be filled with spiritual joy. And the awesome question is whether we have that heavenly joy. It is not merely deliverance from everlasting punishment in hell. Take note of the fact that appears in Romans 8:28. Look it up. Do you believe that truth? All things work together for good. Is Jehovah your God; and do you thank Him for all that which He causes to happen? Do you want to be delivered from sin, as well as from the punishment for which sin calls? Is God your Saviour spiritually as well as physically?

 

November 3

The awesome question is, what do you consider salvation to be? The question is not merely whether God saves His elect from punishment. He does do that for His elect, whom He chose eternally in Christ. But if that only is the salvation which you want, you do not want the salvation which God realizes through His Son. Yes, God will take away that punishment. But look up Genesis 3:15. God promises His elect victory over Satan and sin. And if we merely want salvation from the punishment, for which our sins call, we do not really want the salvation God promises. We must want to walk in love toward God, and serve Him with heart, mind, soul and strength. That is our salvation.

 

November 4

We do well to believe, and hold on tightly to the truth presented to us in Ephesians 2:8-10. Take careful note of the fact that salvation is not presented basically as deliverance from the punishment which a sinner deserves. Our sins are one hundred percent acts of hatred against God. And God saves our hearts and minds from that, and from that hatred against Himself. Salvation is that work of God’s grace, whereby He causes us to love Himself. Look up the passage above. God, by His grace, and as a free gift, causes us to love Himself. And the awesome question is whether you want that kind of salvation. Read what Paul wrote in light of what God says in Genesis 3:15.

 

November 5

Another awesome question, besides the one we considered yesterday, is whether we consider ourselves to be born again children of God. There are in the world today so many different kinds of churches, and people who merely call themselves Christians, but act in anti christian ways. Look up Psalm 1:1 and 2, and find what God says about His elect. They delight in His law, and even “In His law meditate day and night.” Does sin bother you? Does God’s law trouble you? Do you try to defend yourself in this or that sin? As a born again child of God, you will pray to God for an increase in your faith, hope and love, which He works in His elect in His grace.

 

November 6

As pointed out yesterday, the true children of God keep God’s law, because they love Him and in that love walk joyfully, as His law calls them to walk. Look up I John 4:19. There we have that beautiful, comforting statement, namely: “We love Him because He first loved us.” Our salvation is that work of God’s grace, which He causes us to walk in. Every bit of our salvation, with the desire for it, is God’s gift to us. As we rightfully sing by God’s grace: “All that I am I owe to Thee. Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.” Can you, and do you with your heart sing that truth? If you do, you will thank God for His free gift of salvation. Praise Him for that gracious gift, and manifest your thankfulness.

 

November 7

Where, Young People, do you walk with joy and thankfulness? Look up and read Psalm 119:1-8. There we have revealed who are and who are not a blessed people. You do well when you find that you do walk in God’s law. The question is not whether you keep God’s law so that He does not punish you. Punishment does come from God; and our calling is to walk in love of God with every part of our bodies and souls. As we are not ashamed, when we have respect unto all of God’s commandments, so our calling is to walk according to His commandments. How much do you find that in your life? Still more, does sin bother you? Are you merely afraid of the punishment for which sin calls? Do you hate sin, and pray for an holy walk?

 

November 8

God Himself, through the psalmist, reveals our calling to cleanse ourselves spiritually. Read Psalm 119:9-16. As covenant Young People you must take heed of this truth in God’s Word and cleanse yourselves. Because of God’s grace you have God’s Word dwelling in your hearts. Then you want God to teach you His statutes, so that you rejoice in the way of God’s testimonies. How many times did you do that today? How much of God’s law did you forget as God’s law, and were interested in what men say? Do you make sure, that every day you find joy in doing what God calls us to do? How much, today, have you read your Bible, wherein God speaks of those chosen in Christ, and those saved by His cross? Does God’s Word make you happy?

 

November 9

An important truth, which we find in Psalm 119:17-24, is that when God opens our eyes, we behold wondrous things out of God’s law. Just read that passage for your comfort. The truth here in this Psalm causes us to see wonderful things. Satan, through men, tries to get us away from God’s truth. He strives to brush God’s Word away; and he makes us interested in his false doctrines. That is why in the church world there are so many different kinds of churches. How much, and how carefully have you read God’s Word, every day of the week? The blessed gift of God is that He causes us to know and enjoy the truth that Christ Jesus is our Saviour. Read that Word of God every day; and eat that blessed truth.

 

November 10

Is your heart spiritually bigger today than in the past? Is your joy greater in its thankfulness for God’s gift of salvation? Read Psalm 119:25-32. Take note of that truth presented in that last verse. We will run the way of God’s commandments, when He enlarges our hearts. Has God quickened you to do that? Do you want to grow spiritually in your knowledge of what God gives and does for His elect? You are eager to grow stronger physically. But do you more and more want to live as a child of God? Are you a child of God, or merely called such? Does Christianity fill your heart with joy?

 

November 11

The important question is not merely whether we can call ourselves Christians; but whether God calls us Christians. Satan got the whole human race to be anti-christian, that is, be against Christ. But lookup Psalm 119:41-48. There the believing children of God, by His grace, expressly claim to be those with delight in God’s commandments, that is, having love of God’s law. Do you find that in your life? Can you in your heart say, “All that I am, I owe to Thee. Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me.”? Can you, and do you with your heart sing that truth? Do you daily get down on your knees, and in prayer ask God to increase in your life evidence that you are thankful for God’s work of making you a Christian?

 

November 12

The true child of God’s comfort is due to that work of God’s grace, whereby He quickens him in His salvation. Read Psalm 119:49-56. Although we do have much affliction, during our earthly life, we flee from it when God brings our souls into heavenly glory. For God works hope in us, not merely desire for salvation, and all its blessedness. And hope is absolute confidence. When God works faith in us, He causes us to be very, very sure that what He promises us will come completely. The question is not merely whether you want relief from earthly troubles. God’s believing child expects a wonderful, eternal life in the coming kingdom. Do you hope for it?

 

November 13

The salvation God works in us does not in this life remove physical pain. Every unbeliever wants that. But in Psalm 119:57-64 we find the child of God stating that God is our portion; and therefore that He will keep His word, regardless of what happens physically. Read that passage mentioned. The child of God believes that God will keep His word of promise, and will never ignore any of it. God’s promises are absolutely sure in every detail. Do you find in your life that God turned you unto His testimonies? How often do you read God’s Word? How often do you rejoice in His promises? Do you love God, and want to walk in love toward Him? If so, you have the assurance of His grace, and the comfort of His promise in Christ.

 

November 14

It is time for you now to read Psalm 119:65-72. Do you want to do that today? If you do, you have evidence that God has dealt with you as His servant. No, that does not mean that He makes you a slave. It means that He causes you to be born again with a new spiritual life. It means that He causes you to be righteous and holy. You are still physically alive, but are you also spiritually alive? Do you sincerely want to be taught judgement and knowledge? Is that due to the fact that you believe God’s command­ments? Do you believe that God is good, and that He has the right to demand of you acts of love toward Himself? Are you merely afraid of the punishment that comes upon sinners? Or do you keep God’s law because you love Him?

 

November 15

When things go wrong, as far as your flesh is concerned, be sure that you agree with the Psalmist, who wrote in Psalm 119:73-80 that God’s judgement is right. Read those eight verses, and take note of the fact that God is faithful when He afflicts those walking in sin. We are tempted to go to God and complain, when He afflicts us. But take a strong hold on the truth that God’s judgement always is right; and that He is faithful to His promises when he afflicts. Yes, He is merciful when He afflicts us, for He then deals with us as His servants. Do you consider yourself a servant of God? Or do you prefer doing what Satan tempts you to do?

 

November 16

Do you, and can you, agree with the Psalmist when in Psalm 119:81-88 he states that all of God’s commandments are faithful? Go and read that section of this Psalm, wherein God speaks to us. God’s commandments demand of us what our sinful flesh does not want. But remember that we owe God thanks for every one of our heartbeats. Get down on your knees and pray to God for desire and power to keep every one of His commandments. God made us to be His servants. And He has the absolute right to demand constant obedience from us. ‘Do you love Him as your God? Or do you love Satan and sin? Do you want to “keep the testimony” of God’s mouth?

 

November 17

Read Psalm 119:89-96, and take note of the fact that a true child of God will “never forget” God’s precepts. He will more and more, the older he gets and grows spiritually, remember God’s law. Bear in mind that every one of God’s elect will never forget God’s precepts. The wicked will try to destroy them; and we are rushing toward that day of the Antichrist, who is soon coming. The awesome question for us today is how much do we love God’s law; and also whether we try to keep it merely because we do not want the punishment, for which sin calls. Do you love God’s commandments, and keep them in that love? Do you love God, and strive to keep those commands which He gives us in Exodus 20?

 

November 18

It makes a world of difference in us when God causes us to be born spiritually. When He has done this we can honestly say with the Psalmist that we love His law. Can you sincerely say that, as the Psalmist does in Psalm 119:97-104? Look up that passage and read it carefully. Can you honestly and joyfully sing: “How love I Thy law, O Lord! Daily joy its truths afford?” Can you, and do you sing that sincerely? Then you will also say that you hate false doctrines, and sin in every form. Is it your medita­tion all the day? Has God made you wiser than all our spiritual enemies? We cannot love Satan and sin; and at the same time, and in the same way, love God and a holy, righteous life.

 

November 19

What an amazing life we now have, compared with the life of our grandparents. With all the new inventions we are attacked by Satan more cleverly than God’s people were in the past. Read what we find in Psalm 119:105-112. The Psalmist declares: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” How true is that in your life? The question is not whether your mouth can say that. Can and does your heart say that? Is Scripture more precious to you than that radio or television set? Is Scripture precious and holy in your judgement? Is Scripture more precious to you than to those not born again by God’s grace? Can you with your heart sing: “Thy word sheds light upon my path. It guides my feet”?

 

November 20

A very awesome question is whether with the heart we can and do say what the Psalmist says in Psalm 119:113-120. Do you love God’s law, and hate vain thoughts? What is more, who is your friend: and why is he or she your friend? Does he or she love God, or is he or she one used by Satan to get you to enjoy breaking God’s law? What about on the Sabbath Day? Is that day, enjoyable to you, because it gives you time to enjoy your flesh, and its pleasures? There is so much that Satan uses today. Does he now get you into more sins? Do you love God’s Word? And on the Sabbath are you very active in that Word, not simply in the church services, but every hour of that day, making it indeed a holy day?

 

November 21

What do you want God to do unto you? Can you with the psalmist say that you love God’s commandments? Do you love it above gold? Look up Psalm 119:121-128. The awesome fact is that if we do not love God’s commandments, we do not love God, Who presents these commandments unto us. When in the church services God’s law is read, how much attention are you paying to that law? It is easy to think of the breaking of God’s commandments by others. But are you reminded of your own sins, when that law is read? Does the reading of that law make you sad? How much of that law do you have before you, and in your heart and mind every day? How often every day do you pray for forgiveness of your sins?

 

November 22

Look up and read Psalm 119:129-136. There the Psalmist presents God’s testimonies as being wonderful; and that his soul therefore keeps these testimonies. Do you consider God’s law to be wonderful, or abhorring? Remember that every time we break God’s law, we are abhorring it. In fact we are saying that Jehovah is not God; and that we have the right to decide what we will do. When we break God’s law, we say by that act that He demands of us what is not good. But every sin is an act of hatred against God. We do call God’s testimonies wonderful; and therefore we keep His law. When we keep God’s law, we reveal our love of God.

 

November 23

The awesome truth is that unbelievers are thankful only when material things are given them, and they enjoy walking in sin. Satan got Adam and Eve to do that. And although for us today is what is called Thanksgiving Day, we must be very careful to thank God only for the gifts which He bestows upon us through His Son, Christ Jesus our Saviour. What a blessed victory, calling for thankfulness, that God has caused us to be born again spiritually. Look up I John 5:4. There we read what victory God gives us. He gives us faith, which causes us to overcome the world and its sin. Be thankful for salvation and deliv­erance from Satan and sin. Thanks be to God for that blessed victory.

 

November 24

The awesome question is whether by your walk you reveal that God has made you righteous through His Son, Jesus Christ. And in Psalm 110:137-144 we find that righteousness is in us by God’s grace. Indeed that righteousness is everlasting. Having begun it in us God continues to bless us with it. And we correctly sing: “All that I am I owe to Thee, Thy wisdom, Lord, hath fashioned me,” Psalter Number 383. Do you sing that with your heart, and not merely with your mouth? Find it in your heart, and you will be thankful, singing with your heart, and revealing that God has begun salvation in you. Are you thankful for that spiritual gift of righteousness? Do you run to God in prayer, seeking this righteousness?

 

November 25

We do well to hold on tightly to the truth which we find in Psalm 119:145-152. Read it carefully. For we must, cry unto God with our whole heart. What we must constantly cry for is that desire to keep God’s statutes. Now crying to God means hating every kind of sin that is in us, which Satan has gotten into the whole human race. And the question is whether you enjoy sin, or whether you delight in salvation from sin of every kind. It is not merely the desire to be saved from the punishment which we deserve. It is the desire to walk in love toward God. And the Psalmist prays, not merely for deliverance from the punishment which we all deserve. It is the desire for deliverance from Satan and all love of sin. Do you have that desire?

 

November 26

Our God does save us from all the torment that is in hell, and which we deserve because of our natural carnal nature, wherewith we were born. Read Psalm 119:145-152. In verse 149 we find the awesome calling of the Psalmist. He calls God to hear his voice, according to His own will. He prays to be quickened according to God’s judgment. We must not merely want to be saved from the punishment which we deserve. Our calling is to be saved from Satan, and the sin into which he got us. That salvation God has begun in all His elect, chosen eternally in Christ. Do you want to be saved from your sin and be given love of God? Is that love in your souls?

 

November 27

That we desire salvation is because God has already begun it in us. As the Psalmist states it in the section of Psalm 119: verses 158-160, God’s tender mercy is very great. In that mercy we want to be quickened to God’s judgement. God’s mercy is eternal and unchangeably great. In it God deals with us in a blessed, comforting mercy. And in that mercy God judges every one of those whom He eternally chooses in Christ Jesus our Savior. His love is great, and His work upon us and in us is eternally blessed. Take note of the fact that in verse 160 we do read that His Word is true, and every one of His judgments endureth forever. Take a strong hold on that truth, and thank God for all that He has done, and will do for His elect.

 

November 28

We should take note of the truth God presents in Psalm 119:161-168. The man who wrote this Psalm declares that seven times a day he praises God. This he does because he loves God’s law. The awesome truth is that we love God’s law because we love Him. And this places us before the awesome question as to whether we do love God. We will love God’s law only if we love Him. We do not keep it merely to escape punishment. We do it because God has made us love Himself. Unbelievers do not kill others because they do not want others to kill them. As believers we love God; and therefore love God’s law. If you love God, you will love His commandment, and strive to keep it.

 

November 29

Read carefully that last section of Psalm 119, namely, the verses 169-176. There we are called to pray for the gift of understanding according to God’s Word. That gift of understanding is becoming aware of all that God demands of us, every second of our life, not merely part of the time. Go to sleep at night, but do so in order that tomorrow you have the strength to walk in love before God. He creates us, and gives us strength so that we can walk in love toward Him. Our tongues must speak His Word. Our hands must serve Him in all that we do. Our calling is to love God, and serve Him every minute of our lives. We must constantly and joyfully by our works thank God for our blessed salvation.

 

November 30

In Revelation 22:14 we find a very wonderful, comforting truth. There we read: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to enter to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” This happens because Christ earned it for us. God has made us to be citizens of The Kingdom of Heaven. We do not bless ourselves, but God blesses us with a free gift which He gives us through His Son. When you do thank God for this blessedness, you do show what God eternally decided, and in time made possible in every detail. Thank God then, for what He does in His grace. Yes, Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him ALL creatures here below!

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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Judah: A Story of Redemption

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021.   The story of Judah is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. We often overlook this history because it is nestled in the middle of the story of Joseph. All the […]

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Author Interview: “Through Many Dangers”

M. Kuiper, Through Many Dangers (Jenison: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2021)   Through Many Dangers is a work of Christian, historical fiction that has just been released this summer by the RFPA. The book is written especially for young people and details the story of a group of Dutch Reformed boys who serve in the […]

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