Devotional for March 2020

 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees – ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  [Mt.5:20]

“For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” [Ro.10:2-4]

Where the pure truth concerning the righteousness of God is concerned there is a great deal of misunderstanding. The consequence of  being sinners in this sin filled world makes it impossible for anyone (lit.) to come unto a full knowledge of the truth[1Tim.2:3]apart from the free grace of God and the Holy Spirit of God. Sin adversely affects the judgment of even the most religious – the most intelligent – or, the most all around gifted sinner. There is no exception! We need the Spirit of Christ for all our spiritual understanding needs! [see: Pr.16:22; Jn.7:38; Eph.1:17-18]

Where the righteousness that we need for eternal salvation is concerned, Jesus, Himself, said what has been recorded from Mt.5:20 (see above) — and this text is still the Truth. The righteous-ness that we need in order to be accepted and approved by holy, holy, holy God for heaven…or, to put it another way — for us to be meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light[see: Col.1:12] – is none other than the righteousness that only God the Father can give us by His great grace – through the person and work of His incarnated only begotten and beloved Son – the Lord Jesus Christ!

We need what the Word refers to as the righteousness of God”. For example, the righteousness of Godis like that which is described and recorded in Ro.1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christfor it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…(17) For thereinis the righteousness of God revealed…”. Therefore, the righteousness of Godis made known unto us by personal divine revelation through hearing the gospel of Christwhich is the power of God unto salvation.” [see: Ro.10:16-17] This is why Col.1:12 completely says: Giving thanks unto the Fatherwhich hath made us meet (or, qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in Light..” And, Christ is, also, the Light – Praise His Holy Name!

So then, it is only by the will of God the Father that anyone has been made to be qualified, approved and accepted in the Beloved”. [see: Eph.1:3-6]

Ro.10:2 refers all those who like the scribes and Pharisees – have a real zeal for God, but it is a zeal that is not in accordance with (lit.) a full knowledge of who God is!

And why is that? Jesus, Himself, explains why from Mt.11:25-27: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, (the scribes and Pharisees) and hast revealed them unto babes. (newly “born from above” infants!) (26) Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. (27) All things are delivered unto me of my Fatherand no man (lit.) fully knoweth the Son, but the Fatherneither (lit.) fully knoweth any man the Fathersave the Sonand he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Of course, all of this revelation experience is brought to pass by the Holy Spirit of God. We will try to delve deeper into this wonderful subject of the everlasting gospel.” [see: Rev.14:6]

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for February 2020

 “And you – that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind – by wicked works – yet now hath He reconciled (22) in the body of His flesh through death –  to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” [Col.1:21-22] “Christ…loved the church, and gave Himself for it; (26) That He might sanctify and cleanse it – with the washing of water by the Word, (27) that He might present it to Himself a glorious church – not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” [Eph.5:25-27]

These two texts describe a work performed by Christ. A work not unlike the very creation of the world itself, for, indeed, it is describing the new creature[2Co.5:17] that every saved sinner is in Christ! Yes, this work is one that could only be done by the incarnated eternal Son of God, viz., the Lord Jesus Christ – the absolute greatest human ever to be born in and upon the timeline of fallen human history!  Through Him aloneand for His glory alone – this work of perfecting the saints has been completely and totally accomplished! Not only has it been accomplished by Christ Jesus, the Lord, but because He is the eternal Son of God incarnated – it has been accomplished from eternity – in eternity – and for eternity! Praise His eternally holy and almighty Name!

Dear ones, He is our perfect propitiation before eternal and holy, holy, holy God. This literally means that He, and He alone is our only perfectly holy satisfaction before God. Christ Jesus (the incarnated eternal Son of God) has perfectly and eternally satisfied all the holy and eternal requirements — for all those whom God the Father has given unto Him [see Jn.6:37;17:2].  This includes their eternal Redemption, eternal Justification and their eternal Reconciliation — before, and with the Lord our God. This is what constitutes eternal salvation! Salvation is of the Lord!

This also means that Christ has satisfied the perfect Justice  – of Almighty God! Our sins deserve the Divine Justice of eternal Hell itself. Therefore, our eternal Redeemer was made to be our sin [See 2Co.:5:21] and He satisfied Divine Justice for us as our eternal Savior and Substitute! The apostle Peter was Holy Spirit inspired to write concerning Christ’s atonement of us in these words: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree…” and, For Christ also hath once suffered for sinsthe Justfor the unjustthat He might bring us to God(lit.) having been put to death in the fleshbut quickened by the Spirit.”[1Pe.2:24;3:18]  Praise His holy, holy, holy Name!

How else can we be described by the Holy Spirit through the pen of His messenger and preacher, the apostle Paul — in such language that has been recorded in God’s Word from two different places in holy scripture? We are said to be: holy” – “unblameable” – and unreproveable in His sight” – according to the text in Colossians; and we are presented (i.e. lit., made to stand) before Him, our glorious Savior/God – not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” – but we are before Him: holy and without blemish! This is what it means to be among all those who have been included in the eternal atonement of the eternal Lamb of Godthe Lord Jesus Christ! Praise His Wonderful Name! If it’s not all Christit is all wrong!

God sees us – right where He placed us before the foundation of the world[see Eph.1:3-4]! The truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of our Lord Jesus Christ is even better news than we all thought! Look at, and meditate upon, that which is written in 1Jn.4:16-19! This passage is a very present help in the time of our being in this world of our trouble. Let us contemplate the mind-blowing last phrase of 1Jn. 4:17 and Rejoice! It says: because as He isso are wein this world.

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for January 2020

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, (79) to give Light to them that sit in darkness – and – in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of Peace.” “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” “But the path of the Just is as the shining Light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”[Lk.1; Ps.119:105; Pr.4:18]

The last phrase of the Holy Spirit inspired utterance that old Priest Zacharias (the father of John the Baptist) descriptively declares unto us – is also a reason why the Lord God sent His Son into this world. Christ was sent into our fallen human history to not only be our Savior – but also our guide through and out of this world into God’s heavenly eternal presence and Kingdom! There are two important things we should always be aware of each day we are in this earthly life: 1) Where we are in this Cosmos Diabolos (the world of the Devil) and, 2)Where we are being led!

It would be difficult to find a more relevant subject to seriously meditate on at the beginning of a brand new year. Every single one of us are being led throughout our temporary journey in this evil world – right into our eternal destiny. Who we are – whether a genuine true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, or a false believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, or an outright and total unbeliever – will reveal where in eternity we will ultimately end up as our eternal destiny.  Ro.8:14 tells us: As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And, 2Pe.3:17 warns us to: “beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the Wickedfall from your own steadfastness.”

There is no question about it! We will, and we do, suffer in this trial filled world – but praise God  1Pe.2:21 tells us: For even hereunto were ye calledbecause Christ also suffered for usleaving us an examplethat ye should follow His steps.” This means that He forged a one man path through this dark, dense valley of the shadow of death – right into His holy eternal loving presence and Kingdom. It is no wonder that the Psalmist says that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet! We need “the shining Light” of God’s Word to show us the footprints of our Lord that will lead us through this dark and troublesome valley. 1Pe.2:9-10 describes us all collectively: ye are a chosen generationa royal priesthoodan holy nationa peculiar peoplethat ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light. (10) Which in time past were not a peoplebut are now the people of Godwhich had not obtained mercybut now have obtained mercy.” This is all because we are being led by the Spirit of God through this sinful and cursed world. By virtue of this saving work of the Holy Spirit – we fulfill the scriptural description of He.10:19-22, which says: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) by a new and living waywhich He consecrated for us through the veilthat is to sayHis flesh. (21) And having [Him as] an High Priest over the House of God (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…” 

This describes the path of the Justthat is as the shining Lightthat shineth more and more unto the Perfect Day!” Praise the holy Name of Jesus! He came into this dark and sinful world to lead us in the grand and glorious exodus out of its bondage and death [see: Lk.9:28-31]. Well does Ps.85:13 describe His powerful and protective leadership: Righteousness shall go before Himand shall set us in the Way of His steps.” Pr.15:9 says: The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lordbut He loveth him that followeth after righteousness!” We will not fall victim to the wiles of the devil — when we faithfully follow the footsteps of Christ our eternal Savior and Surety. 

For Christ’s Glory Only!    –      John Carpenter

Devotional for December 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, (79) to give Light to them that sit in darknessandin the shadow of deathto guide our feet into the Way of Peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]

We are continuing with our examination of these two final Holy Spirit inspired statements of old Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist – the prophet/forerunner of the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign Savior/Substitute that there ever was, is, or ever will be! He is the Dayspring from on highwho hath visited us”. And, this visitation is referring to what the religious world around us celebrates at this precise time of the year – Christmas!

There is nothing about this particular extraordinary event in our history that took God by surprise. No – that is impossible to do! He planned, purposed and decreed every detail concerning the circumstances of the birth of John the Baptist through the barren Elizabeth and the old priest, Zacharias. In like manner, He planned, purposed and decreed the birth of Christ Jesus through the virgin Mary. This event marks the wonderful, marvelous, gracious, spiritual dawning — that literally takes us from the blackest part of the spiritual night that encompasses this lost and fallen world – and unfolds and reveals unto all those that God the Father has given to God the Son (see Jn.6:37) the beautiful and blessed Light of the gospel of the glory, only, of Christ Jesus, the eternal Savior! (see 2Co.4:3-6)

We all sit in the darkness of the shadow of death– which is the everyday environment that exists all around us within this ever constant passing-away-world. Here we sit until our individual and personal divinely covenanted and appointed time that God’s everlasting love finds us…and gives life unto our souls (see the scriptural descriptions of 1Jn.2:17 and Eze.16:4-8). This marks the divine quickening of the Holy Spirit of God that we all desperately need in order to be saved. Note the words of Jesus, Himself, from Jn.6:63> It is the Spirit that quickeneththe flesh profiteth nothing! The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [see also Jn.6:64-71]

The reality is this: God — who has brought to pass the eternally covenanted and accomplished incarnation of the eternal Son of God into the likeness of fallen human flesh – through His doing this – He has accomplished the absolute greatest miracle that He has ever done! Ps.115:2-3 descriptively declares: Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? (3) But our God is in the heavensHe hath done whatsoever He hath pleased!” And, once again – from Ps.135:6 it says: Whatsoever the Lord pleasedthat did He in heavenand in earth, in the seas, and all the deep places.” These texts dogmatically declare that God has done – He has absolutely accomplished all things — just as He pleases! That’s — in all of time — past, present, and future – and — in all of eternity! Praise His Sovereign, Almighty Name.

The gospel truth concerning Christ’s eternally atoning sacrifice is descriptively declared from Is.53:10. It says: “…it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief; when thou shalt make His soul and offering for sin, He shall see His seedHe shall prolong His daysand the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.” This is the substance of pure gospel preaching. And, 1Co.1:21 says: “…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching (see 1Co.1:18) to save them that believe!” This is what constitutes the real eternal purpose of the birth of Christ.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

 

Devotional for November 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us, (79) to give Light to them that sit in darkness – and – in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of Peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]

Once again, we have been examining these two verses which are the capstone conclusion of the Holy Spirit inspired declaration of old priest Zacharias – the earthly father of John the Baptist. Last month we noted a very significant comparison of this account in Luke 1 – with Malachi’s prophecy of the coming of Christ as the Sun of righteousness” – arising with healing in His wings. This is recorded in Mal.3:1 and 4:1-2. Old Zacharias’s unbelief (and his consequent inability to speak) was immediately healed with the arrival and consecration of his son who would become the prophet/forerunner of the promised Dayspring from on high”. This marked in our history of fallen humanity the coming of our Kinsman Redeemerthe First Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ! Whereas, as we have already noted, the prophecy of Malachi descriptively declares the final coming of our Kinsman Redeemer into the actual history of fallen humanity – the final Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Now we’re ready to give consideration to verse 79 – which outlines the eternal purpose of the person and work of the Lord Jesus, the incarnated into the likeness of sinful flesh of the eternal Son of God and Son of man! Verse 79 tells us that He who is the Dayspring from on high(the Lord Jesus) is the Light to them that sit in darkness”. These that sit in darkness are, in turn, the people prepared for the Lordwhom Gabriel announced (in Lk.1:17) that Zacharias’s son (John the Baptist) would make ready”. These are the publicans and harlots, &c., unto whom John the Baptist ministered the baptism of repentance! It was unto these multitudes of different persons that he proclaimed Christ Jesus as being the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!

The darknessthat they sit in – is this dark and sin-filled world. 2Co.4:3-4 descriptively declares if our gospel be hidit is hid to them that are lost (4) in whom the god of this world (the prince of darkness) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (exactly like Zacharias was) lest (lit.) the Light of the gospel of the glory only of Christwho is the image of Godshould shine unto them!” It is these preparedpeople that make up the same as those whom Peter describes from 1Pe.2:9-10 as being a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people (or, a people of God’s own personal possession) thatshould show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light (10) which in time pastwere not a peoplebut are now the people of Godwhich had not obtained mercybut now had obtained mercy.”

 The apostle Paul writes to us from Eph.5:8,11 and 14: For ye were sometimes darknessbut now are ye Light in the Lord  – walk as children of Light.” “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darknessbut rather reprove them.” “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest! And arise from the deadand Christ shall give thee Light!” That’s the Light of the Truth concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ – which only the Holy Spirit of God and Christ can truly communicate and convey unto us. [see Jn.16:13-15] Therefore does the Holy Spirit through Zacharias also describe being in this world as spiritually being in darkness and in the shadow of death”. We must always be aware of where we are — and where we are being led! Lord willing — we shall look more closely into all this next month.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

 

Devotional for October 2019

“Through the tender mercy of our God – whereby the dayspring from on high visited us – (79)  to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death – to guide our feet into the Way of peace.” [Lk.1:78-79]  

As we continue to examine the Holy Spirit inspired statement of old priest Zacharias concerning his newborn son, John the Baptist – we see that it is all about the yet to be born (which is only a few short months from happening) – the birth of the eternal Son of God incarnated into being the eternal Savior/God, the  Lord Jesus Christ. It is He that is being referred to as: the Dayspring”.

The Dayspringis descriptive of the precise moment that the light of the beginning of a brand new new day brilliantly bursts forth into existence and springs into view — completely dispelling the prevailing and all encompassing darkness of the night. And, the Lord Jesus Christ is being referred to here as the Dayspringfrom on High! Our Savior – the incarnated, holy and beloved eternal Son of God, was already conceived by the Holy Spirit of God — in the womb of Mary. Jesus – who was to be born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth — was being made ready to make His appointed and promised-by-God appearance in our history – and in the likeness of our sinful flesh (see Ro.8:3) — when old Zacharias was making this Holy Spirit inspired utterance! The event described in Gal.4:3-5 – which text says:  “…we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: (4) but when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – the description of this text — was just months away from becoming a gospel reality in the midst of our fallen world! Praise the Name of God!

The sudden appearance of the glorious light of the Dayspring from on highmarks the glorious visitation of our great, holy and sovereign Savior/Redeemer into fallen-in-sin humanity! This is the “light of the truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ” that suddenly and gloriously showed up and cured, or healed, poor old Zacharias of all his unbelief in God.

This whole event around the birth of John the Baptist – the prophet/messenger and forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ – was foretold — four hundred years earlier through Malachi. Mal.3:1 says: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before meand the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to His templeeven the Messenger of the Covenantwhom ye delight in. Behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts!” This prophecy was Holy Spirit inspired and recorded by Malachi 400 years before its fulfillment which we are presently looking at in Luke one! And, take careful note of this additional fact – just as Luke 1 narrates the announcement of the event of the first coming of Jesus in the flesh – the prophecy of Malachi declares the event of the second coming of Jesus in the flesh. It says: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hostsBut, unto you that fear my Nameshall the ‘Sun of righteousness’ arise with healing in His wings…” [Mal.4:1-2] The Lord Jesus is the Dayspringof Lk.1:78 – and He is the Messenger of the Covenantand the Sun of righteousnessof Mal.3:1 and 4:2. And, just as Zacharias’s unbelief was healed with the actual birth of his son, John the Baptist, even so will all of God’s eternal covenanted loved and saved ones be rescued with the rising of the Sun of righteousness – the Lord Jesus Christ. He comes with the eternal rescue of redemption in His wings! But wait, there is yet still more wonderful blessings to be focused on here. . .

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

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