Devotional for November 2018

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do – in that it was weak through the flesh – God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh — and for sin – condemned sin in the flesh: (4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us – who walk not after the flesh – but after the Spirit.” [Ro.8:1-4]

What a truly grand statement of the word of the truth of the gospel of God’s great grace this portion of scripture proves to be! It more than merits yet another thoughtful consideration. Why? Because it descriptively declares the undeniable evidence of what Christ’s holy workof His holy walk of lifein and through this unholy worldhas eternally accomplishedfor all those which have been placed in Him. The blessed holy work of the Triune Savior/God – works out works in – and works through all those which this text declares are in Christ Jesus – a most wonderful eternally saving miracle. It is this work that has produced not only their eternal standing before Him – but their personal and individual walk through this sinful, fallen world. A walk following after the blessed Holy Spirit of God. What a wonderful gospel declaration!

Dear ones, this is the special spiritual experience  that we should earnestly be praying to be made apparent – not only in and from our own lives – but also in and from the lives of each other. For this is the description of the vibrant and living relationship that the eternal Savior Son of God enters into with each one of His true believers. This is what being genuinely born from above produces in a sinner. They are daily – even hourly – being successfully and effectually led by His Holy Spirit – through this world of the valley of the shadow of death – all the way — into the heavenly bliss-filled reality of the Savior’s blessed eternal presence.

It is our walk after – or, according to – the Holy Spirit of Christ our God – that becomes the manifestation of our having been – by God’s grace alone – completely redeemed and remitted from the dreaded eternal, but just, condemnation of the law of sin and death”. Which law — rules and reigns over our ever present – in this world — sinful flesh.  Why is this true? Because we, by the grace of the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, walk anew — according to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus! It is this that brings to pass the reality of the living proof of the written statement of God from Ro.6:14, which says: For sin shall not have dominion over youfor you are not under the lawbut under grace!” And, its all because of the eternal accomplishment of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ! Praise His Holy Name!

This, in turn, is why the apostle is inspired by the Holy Spirit to explain unto us that which he does in vs.3-4> For what the law [of sin and death] could not doin that it is weak through the flesh [i.e. our sinful flesh] — Godsending His own Sonin the likeness of [our] sinful fleshandfor sin, condemned sin in the flesh [i.e. His flesh] (4) that the righteousness of the law [of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus] might be fulfilled in us [who are in Christ, and] who [as a result of His Holy work] walk not after [or, according to] the flesh, but after [or, according to] the Spirit.”

There are even more distinguishing details delivered in Ro.8:5-13 that graphically demonstrate the striking difference between these two. It is these differences that serve  to lend weight to the context of Ro.8:14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God!” Amen.

For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter

Devotional for October 2018

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do – in that it was weak through the flesh – God, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Ro.8:1-4]

Unto whom are the wonderful words of the first phrase of this section of holy scripture being addressed? The answer is: To everyone that is included in the group; to them which are in Christ Jesus”. This, in turn, begs an answer to two more questions: What exactly does it mean to be, in Christ Jesus”? And, just how exactly are we included in that group? The answer to all three of these questions is the very substance of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign, Savior, substitute that there ever was – is – or, ever will be!

The first phrase of 1Co.1:30 explicitly and descriptively declares: But, of Him (i.e. God) are ye in Christ Jesus”. Or, more literally it is saying: But, by His doingare ye in Christ Jesus”. Eph.1:3-4 echoes this reality in the way it describes God the Father. It says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (4) according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the worldthat we should be holy and without blame before Himin love(which is a more graphic way of saying that we have no condemnation in Christ Jesus). This same Ephesian passage also tells how it is that we have been included among all those that are being referred to in the phrase: to them which are in Christ Jesus”. We were included in this group by our heavenly Father who blessed us – not only with the spiritual blessing of our being placed and eternally positioned in Christ, but also with our being blessed with ALL the other additional spiritual blessings that go along with being placed in Christ! Plus, this text even reveals to us — how and when — all this took place! It says: According as He hath chosen us in Himbefore the foundation of the world. Wow! Praise the Lord! So, therefore, according to God’s Word – He chose us in Christ – He placed us in Christ – and, furthermore, He graciously blessed us with – not just one or two of His spiritual blessings, but – All of His spiritual blessings in Christ, our Savior! (which include His: wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption”[the rest of 1Co.1:30])

Next, let’s focus on the last two words of vs.4in love”. The Word of God from Jer.31:3 reveals to us: The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee withan everlasting love. Therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Hence, these two words at the end of Eph.1:4 must refer to this same eternal love — God’s eternal love! This is the personal, individual love that God has, first of all, for His beloved, darling, eternal Son – and, second of all, for each and everyone of His eternally loved, chosen and placed positionally inHis Son! Take heed to how Jesus prayed to His Father the night before He bore our sins to Calvary: Jn.17:23-26: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (24) Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given mefor thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world. (25) O righteous Father… (26) I have declared unto them thy Nameand will declare itthat the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in themand I in them.” Grant us Lord, by thy grace, to receive this wonderful truth!

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for September 2018

“Jesus answered: Verily, verily, I say unto thee – except a man be born of water and of the Spirit – he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” “There is therefore nowno condemnationto them  which are in Christ Jesuswho walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesushath made me freefrom the law of sin and death.(3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh – and for sin – condemned sin in the flesh (4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Jn.3:5; Ro.8:1-4]

The reason these two texts are referenced together is because there is a cohesive connection between them. Jn.3:5 comes to us from the conversation of Nicodemus and Jesus. Jesus declares salvation to Nicodemus, a master/teacher of Israel(3:10). And, this is the very first context that the expression born again (3:3) is used; and, it is significant that it is first used by none other than Christ. The term, bornmeans: to be regenerated; whereas, the word used for againcan be more accurately translated as: from above.  We all are (or, at least, we all ought to be) very interested in just exactly what this truly means. The Lord says without this birth occuring in our personal lives – we can neither see (or perceive, 3:3), nor enter, the Kingdom of God!

Jesus specifically tells Nicodemus from Jn.3:5 that being born again (or, more lit., born from above) means to be born of water and of the Spirit”. “Water is scripturally related to the Holy Word of God in Eph.5:26 where the gospel is proclaimed by relating how Christ so loved the Churchthat He gave Himself for it – that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water (lit.) in the Word”. Additionally, Jesus from Jn.17:2 says of all His saved ones: Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.”  It is no wonder that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write what is written in Titus 3:5-6: not by (or, not out of) works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercyHe saved usby the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (6) which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior.” And, also, James – by the same Holy Spirit – writes from Jas.1:18: Of His own willHe begat us (or, He caused us be born again) with the Word of Truth”.

But, how do we know that this all important “born from above” – genuine spiritual experience – has indeed happened to us? We know – by the same means that we have been referring to: by the Holy Spirit and the holy Word of God. Jesus, the only begotten, dearly beloved, eternal Son of God – is the living Word of God! When Jesus announced that He (and God the Father) would send to us the Holy Spirit to specifically fulfill the revealing unto us the things concerning Himself i.e. the eternal accomplishments of Christ as the only sovereign, Savior, substitute that there ever was, is or ever will be – He told us: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me” “He shall glorify mefor He shall receive of mineand shall show it (or, shall announce it; shall reveal it) unto you. (15) All things that the Father hath are minetherefore said Ithat He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.” [Jn.14:36; 16:14-15.

And, the things that the Holy Spirit will reveal unto us – are the more-than-marvelous things that are declared in Ro.8:1-4! These are things that pertain to our walk through this fallen world. You can read of them for yourselves. May the Spirit lead you to do so. May He teach you what great things are being said here. More than that, may you also realize the living truth of them. Amen.

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for August 2018

“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints (16) cease not to give thanks for you — making mention of you – in my prayers; (17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (18) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened – that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what (are) the riches of His glory of the inheritance in the saints. (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe- – according to the working of His mighty power (20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places (21) far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (22) and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all in all!” [Eph.1:15-23]

This section of scripture, among other things, gives unto us the true method, message and maintenance of genuine and Holy Spirit effective evangelism. The method is the bold heralding forth of the announcement of the pure truth of the everlasting gospel of God’s great grace (Rev.14:6). Once evidence is seen that the message has been favorably received – genuine evangelism follows up with Spirit led prayer. The first chapter of the epistle of Ephesians – from verses 3 through 14 — succinctly describes the pure truth concerning God’s message of eternal salvation by God’s grace, alone, through the person and work, alone, of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is dogmatically declared to be according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace…” (vs.5-6); and, again, from vs.7 – it is descriptively declared that our eternal redemption is entirely according to the riches of His grace. And, because the apostle Paul had heard that God’s grace had been effectually bestowed upon the Ephesians – resulting in their truly believing in the Lord Jesus, and which in turn resulted in the love that they were displaying unto all the saints – he did not,  nor could not – cease to lift them up to the Lord God in his earnest prayers! This is the Holy Spirit-led maintenance that descriptively marks a vital part of the true evangelistic process. And, just exactly what is it that Paul was specifically led to pray that God would do for them?

He prayed that God – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — the incarnated eternal Son of God – would give unto the grace-blessed Ephesian believers the Holy Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”. “Wisdom”, to walk through the maze of trials in this fallen-in-sin world (Col.3:15); Revelationwhereby they would consistently realize the relationship with Christ that they have on a daily, step by step basis (1Jn.1:7); and, Knowledge” – the full knowledge of our Lord and Savior that we continually grow into according to the sovereign will of God (2Pe.3:18).

Next, Paul’s Spirit-led prayer addresses the illumination of the eyes of their understanding – so that they may know what is the hope of God’s calling into the riches of His holy glorious inheritance in His saints (Col.1:12). As well as, for them to understand what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God’s grace that is bestowed upon us who truly do believe. It is the same glorious and gracious power that God the Father exercised upon His Beloved Son –  our blessed Savior –  “when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places – far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come – and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church – which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all and in all!” Amen! Praise His Name! If it’s not all Christ – then it’s all wrong!

For Christ’s Glory Only! -John Carpenter

Devotional – July 2018

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things – may abound to every good work. (9) As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad – He hath given to the poor! His righteousness remaineth forever.” [2Cor.9:8-9]
“…my God shall supply all your need – according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (20) Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever!” [Phil.4:19-20]

These precious words of gospel truth are comparable with one another. They point out the ever abiding presence and fellowship of an all-governing – all-gracious — eternally loving, guiding and providing  Savior.  These verses substantiate the words of our Lord Jesus from Jn.16:33 from where He tells us, These things I have spoken unto youthat in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheerI have overcome the world.” Praise His Name!

Only the God of all grace is able to do this for us! Especially, while we are in this weak and ever vulnerable – fallen-in-sin worldly condition. We are so completely dependent upon our Lord and Savior at all times, for all things – and all that we need, in this adverse and affliction-filled world! Yet — He is so completely dependable unto us no matter what we have to face – no matter what we have to go through in this world in order to enter the all-glorious reality of the “Kingdom of God”. We are ever reminded of Ac.14:22, which says: “…confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faithand thatwe must through much tribulationenter into the Kingdom of God.” While “much tribulation” is a fact of life in this world – it is also an eternal gospel truth that our faithful God is able to make all grace to abound into the time of our trials so that nothing can detour nor delay our being able to enter into the eternal safety of His eternal Kingdom and glory! What good work that He has ordained for us to fulfill – His all sufficient enabling grace will see that it gets accomplished!

In order for any true believer to successfully and safely get through this fallen and cursed world, the sovereign grace of God is absolutely necessary! In order for us to even be able to repent for our sins – we need God’s enabling grace. In Ac.5:30-31, the scripture says that God raised up Jesus and exalted Him with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” In 2Ti.2:24-25, the scripture once again tells us that, the servant of the Lord must not strivebut be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (25) in meekness instructing those that oppose themselvesif God peradventurewill give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…”. True saving repentance is a grace that only God can – and does – give – bestow — upon each of His eternally loved, chosen and saved children!

In fact, true saving faith is also obviously a grace! Eph.2:8-9 clearly states: For by grace are ye saved through faithand that not of yourselves! It is the gift of God. (9) Not of workslest any man should boast.” Jesus, Himself, explicitly declared from Jn.6:29 This is the work of Godthat ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” All who truly and savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are each one descriptively declared from Ac.13:48 in this manner: “…and as many as were ordained to eternal lifebelieved.”

The Lord Jesus is full of grace and truth. It is He who hath dispersed abroad and given His righteousness to the destitute. His righteousness endureth forever. His righteousness eternally justifies us!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

– John Carpenter

Devotional – June 2018

(11) “Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. (12) Those by the way side are they that hear – then cometh the devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts – lest they should believe and be saved. (13) They on the rock are they which when they hear – receive the Word with joy – and these have no root – which for a while believe – and in time of temptation fall away. (14) And that which fell among thorns are they which when they have heard – go forth and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life – and bring no fruit to perfection. (15) But that on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart – having heard the Word – keep it – and bring forth fruit with patience.” [Lk.8:11-15]

(105) “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet – and a light unto my path.” [Ps.119:105]

Here is an accurate gauge by which we may determine if we have truly been born from above by what Paul referred to in Col.1:5 as the Word of the truth of the gospel”. Peter speaks of the same thing in 1Pe.1:23 when he literally says: Having been born againnot of corruptible seed, but of incorruptibleby the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever!” And, then he goes further on and explicitly declares from vs.25: And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you”.

The apostle James was Holy Spirit inspired to write of our regeneration from Jas.1:17-18 of his epistle: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lightswith whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning. (18) Of His own willbegat He us with the Word of truth….” Now this verse is more literally rendered – Having willedHe begat usOr, in other words, He brought us forth to new life in our Lord Jesus Christ! And then he urges us from vs.21: Wherefore(or, consequently) lay apart (or, put away) all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (or, all moral dirtiness and surplusage of depravity) and receive with meekness the engrafted (or, the implanted) Wordwhich is able to save your souls!”   

The Spirit of Christ – the living Word of God – who is the incarnated eternal Son of God – according to the eternal purpose of God the Father – causes us to receive a regenerating revelatory experience that we are, indeed, His eternally loved and chosen sinner-saved-by-grace-children. We come by grace to understand that we – and He – have been personally united with Him – in His beloved and only-begotten Son! Ro.8:16-17 plainly tells us that: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spiritthat we are the children of God (17) and if childrenthen heirsheirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ…” Before the magnitude of the majesty of our all holy – all-glorious sovereign God – we are all — nothing but little children. But, we are His little children! And, especially, while we are here in this fallen-in-sin world – we grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…”

How do we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior?

By constantly feeding on His wonderful Word! We ever abide in the words of our Savior. Jesus said in Jn.15:3Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.”  Then He went on and said from vs.7 If ye abide in me and my words abide in youye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” It is no wonder that the Psalmist was inspired to descriptively declare: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feetand a light unto my path!” Everything wonderful about being in Christ – is descriptively declared in the treasures of His wonderful Word! Amen.

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

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