Devotional for September 2017

“Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Mt. 5:6

 What exactly is this verse descriptively declaring unto us? It is telling us — whom it truly is — among us — that is an eternally saved one while being still here in this fallen, passing away, sinful and law-cursed world. The “Blessed one” is an eternally loved and saved one! They that truly fit this description – male or female – young or old – are among those whom have been – according to Eph.1:3-4 – blessed by God the Father with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in His eternal Son. That is a biblical description of a sinner who has been blessed by God. A sinner who is one of God’s eternally saved ones!

 This verse is telling us that all of God’s blessed ones – all of His eternally saved ones – “hunger and thirst” after something. Hunger and thirst pertain to ardent desires which are must be satisfied as a vital part of life. The meeting and filling of these desires are necessary aspects and activities of the daily pursuit and routine of the sustenance of life. And, that which the blessed saved one hungers and thirsts for – is not at all of this world! It is not success, or wealth, or fame, or even simple worldly happiness. No. What the blessed saved one daily hungers and thirsts for is that which they absolutely need in order to be allowed in the eternal, heavenly presence of the Lord their God – whom they dearly love. They daily (even hourly) hunger and thirst after righteousness!

Make no mistake about it – dear one — this is not referring to self-righteousness. The blessed saved one does not hunger and thirst after self contrived righteousness. Ro.10:3 plainly describes  the people that pursue self-righteousness. It says: 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.” Nor is this referencing a hunger and thirst after what may be referred to as “law-righteousness”. Ro.3:19-20 says: Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the lawthat every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified [or, declared righteous] in His sightfor by the law is the knowledge of sin!” Fallen-in-sin people of this world cannot produce the righteousness of God’s blessed saved one — by pursuing a righteousness produced by their following the law. All the law does is point out how sinfully guilty we all are! So, the blessed saved one does not hunger and thirst after law-righteousness.

It is plainly declared from Ro.3:21-22: But nowthe righteousness of Godwithout  [or, apart from] the law is manifested [or, revealed] being witnessed by the law and the prophets. (22) Eventhe righteousness of Godwhich is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” The blessed saved one hungers and thirsts after this particular righteousness! And, when it says that the righteousness of God is through the faith of Jesus Christ – it means that He is the One that we hunger and thirst for! Jer.23:6> “…And this is His name whereby He shall be calledThe Lord our righteousness!”

There is even one more wonderful thing that is descriptively declared to us from Mt.5:6 – and we would be remiss to not emphasize it. It says: Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousnessFOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED!” Praise and glory unto the wonderful Name of our eternal Savior! Oh to be filled with the eternally justifying righteousness of Christ, our God!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for August 2017

“Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel – I am the Lord thy God — which teacheth thee to profit – which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go.” [Is.48:17]

There are many wonderful things that are to be gleaned from this precious text. For example, it is obvious from vs.16 that the speaker in this, vs.17, is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. For it says: Come ye near unto mehear ye thisI have not spoken in secret from the beginningfrom the time that it wasthere am Iand now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me.”  The eternal Son of God was the one that was covenanted by the determinant counsel of the Most High — to come, through His incarnation, into this fallen world to save all of God’s eternally loved and chosen children – for all eternity. He is, indeed, the eternal Redeemer! He is the one who has taught us about God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Even as the Christ of God in human image and likeness – He was still one in His being — with the Father and the Spirit. The Father commanded every word and deed that He said and did – and the Holy Spirit led Him throughout His every step in and through this sinful, fallen and cursed world. He is our sovereign, Savior/substitute! He is our propitiation! He is our eternal High Priest! He is our eternal Surety! And, as He was one in nature and purpose from eternity –  with His heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit — even so were they one throughout our Lord’s walk in this world. Nevertheless, they have always been – and always will be — three distinct persons with three distinct parts to play in the eternal fulfillment of God’s divine plan for our eternal salvation! Praise His Name!

 The Father’s part is seen in making sure that we are blessed with all the spiritual blessings that are necessary to secure the accomplishment of our eternal salvation. Ephesians one tells us that He has blessed us “with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ”. The Father’s blessings are bestowed upon us! Grace – like rain falls down on us! Just like the song we sing at camp says. We receive — all the spiritual blessings that the Father and the Spirit have eternally secured and sealed – in Christ! That’s what it says! Plus, the inspired epistle goes on to tell us that God did this – “…according as He hath chosen us in Him (that is: in Christ) before the foundation of the worldthat we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…”! That’s in His everlasting love! The love that Jer.31:3 brings forth. Which verse says: The Lord hath appeared of old unto mesayingI have loved thee with an everlasting lovetherefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There is a common and often quoted adage among us fallen-in-sin humans that says: “Love conquers all”! And, among our various relationships – it is all too often proven to be false! But, not so with God. His love for us, indeed, does conquer all – even all sin and death! Because, as Jesus tells us from Jn.6:44 – No man can come unto me except the Father that sent medraw himand I will raise Him up at the last day!” The Father – loves us all to Christ!

 Where all of this wonderful grace of Jesus is concerned – Ro.8:14-17 declares unto us: For as many asare led by the Spirit of Godthese are the sons (the true children) of God. (15) For ye have not receivedthe spirit of bondage againto fearbut ye have receivedthe Spirit of adoption (that’s the Holy Spirit’s adoption of all of God’s true children) whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” And then it says from vs.16-17: The Spirit itselfbeareth witness with our spiritthat we are the children of God (17) and if childrenthen heirsheirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ!” Then it goes even further and says: if so be that we suffer with Himthat we may be also glorified together.” It is the Holy Spirit’s part – through the example of the Lord Jesus – to lead us in His steps through this fallen world – unto the Father of glory! Again, Praise His Name!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for June/July

“…to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” “But now the righteousness of God – without the law – is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ – unto all and upon all that believe; for there is no difference: (23) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; (24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; (25) whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood…” [2Pe.1:1] [Ro.3:21-25]

The gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly set forth from the message of these two passages of scripture. The Word of God tells us that there is one Lord and one faith – and this truth is being here set forth. It is being set forth unto all whom Peter says — that have obtained like precious faith – that is the grace of true saving faith. They have done so through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! And, by virtue of our receiving that grace – there is given the evidential proof that we have also received the righteousness of God. The bestowal by God – through Christ – of this grace – is what makes us to be true believers in the Lord Jesus and His righteousness for our eternal salvation.

The apostle Paul from Romans three delivers to us the substance of this the “everlasting gospel”. He does this when he tells us that – now that the Christ of God – who is our Lord Jesus Christ – has appeared in our history and done what He (and only He) could do. He has brought to light the righteousness of God without [or, apart from] the law! Plus, he says, this has been witnessed also in our history – by the law – and all the Godly prophets! Praise and glory only unto our God!

We are no longer flagrant and profane worldly sinners! We are no longer religious false-believing sinners! But, because we believe in, and trust in, this pure gospel truth of God’s great omnipotent grace – we are transformed into becoming true-believing (having obtained like precious faith) – sinners-saved-by-grace! Again, Praise His Name!

All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God – and, sadly, all of us continue to sin and come short of His glory. However, unto all of us upon whom God has bestowed (by “His great love wherewith He has loved us” Eph.2:4) this eternally saving grace of faith – we have been justified – or, declared righteous – in the eternal Son of God incarnate, even in our Lord Jesus Christ!  How does God, indeed, do this for us sinners?

He does this by His grace-of-faith-reckoned-and-imputed unto us> righteousness of God”. The righteousness of God manifested — completely apart from the law — but found only in — the Lord Jesus Christ! Whom God has set forth to be – for us – a propitiation before Him. He has set forth His incarnated eternal Son — to be our eternal Substitute – to be our eternal Surety. Therefore, we are eternally approved by God — and made eternally accepted with God — by virtue of the person and work of Jesus Christ – His eternal Son – and righteous merits!

He placed us in Him. He gave us His Spirit to forever dwell in us. His victory over Satan, sin and death, is our victory over Satan, sin and death. All of God’s eternally saving spiritual blessings have been blessed upon us according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world – before even time began [Eph.1:3-4; 2Tim.1:9]!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for May 2017

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God – He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” [De.31:6]

These wonderful words of life and encouragement were a part of that which was given by God unto Moses for him to declare and deliver unto the children of Israel as they approached the promised land to finally enter into it. This was at the end of 40 long years of wandering in the wilderness. 40 long years of living in a world of trial and tribulation. 40 years of having to depend daily upon the Lord to sustain them throughout their struggles to survive. This should not be an unfamiliar picture to the true child of God that is yet passing through this world in any of their generations throughout this entire age of sin and death.

 

The wilderness experience of the “Children of Israel” is a “type and shadow” of the life, walk and survival of each of God’s eternally loved and chosen children as they each – in their own generation traverse through this “passing-away-world”  upon this timeline of fallen humanity [1Jn.2:17]. In this world, we are fraught with the same challenges – both spiritual and physical – that Israel of old had to face. We, also, need the same grace provided supply of wisdom, strength and patience that comes from a living and vital relationship with the very presence of our Lord in order for us to safely and finally arrive.

 

Earlier from De.29 Moses reminded Israel that as he led them for 40 years, they witnessed – they saw – all that the Lord did to deliver and sustain them. What He did for them from their time in Egypt and up to and through the land of Moab. All the signs and miracles that He performed were testimonies – repeated evidences — of His presence among them as their God! How for 40 years – their clothes and their shoes had not waxen old upon them! Only our God could do such a thing as this for them!

Yet, at the same time, Moses was led to not neglect to solemnly tell them that, the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear unto this day.” [De.29:4]  This is because no matter what we go through in this fallen world – sin is so prevalent and incapacitating that it takes an act of God’s grace to give unto us that “hearing ear” and “seeing eye” so we can hear and see the truth of His wonderful salvation! Pr.20:12 declares: The hearing ear and the seeing eyethe Lord hath made even both of them.” We need the Lord for everything!

 

The Spirit of God through Moses also told the Israelites: “…the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heartand the heart of thy seedto love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soulthat thou mayest live.” [De.30:6] Jesus taught from Jn.15:5: for without meye can do nothing!” It is so true what Ps.37:39-40 declares: But the salvation of the righteous is of the LordHe is their strength in the time of trouble. (40) And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them. He shall deliver them from the wickedand save thembecause they trust in Him.”

 

The Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul wrote from Eph.6:10-11: Finallly, my brethrenbe strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (11) Put on the whole armor of Godthat ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” And then he further descriptively declared unto the Philippians from Phil.3:3: For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spiritand rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence [or, put no trust] in the flesh!”

For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter

Devotional for April 2017

“Then He said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things – and to enter into His glory?” [Lk.24:25-26]

“…we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.” [Acts 14:22]

“For even hereunto were ye called because Christ also suffered for us – leaving us an example – that ye should follow His steps.” [1Pe.2:21]

Living in this fallen, sinful and cursed world can often be an experience that is a living enigma to the truly regenerated child of God. The above three texts manifest to us what our Lord, alone, can teach us about being a Christian and having to endure our pilgrimage through this world of affliction and trial. What He continually teaches us is that life in this world is, indeed – each and every step of the way — a journey of sovereign, super-abounding grace. As the old Fanny Crosby hymn says: “All the way my Savior leads me – cheers each winding path I tread. Gives me grace for every trial — feeds me with the Living Bread.”

 

Indeed, having to suffer tribulation and trials are a part of the very fabric of our calling! The Holy Spirit of Christ leads all His saved ones through the tribulation and trials of this age. He does not avoid them. He grants us the grace of His presence and strength to be able to get through it – not around it! Be encouraged, dear ones, there is an eternal and definite purpose in God’s leading us through the things that we suffer. Take for example what the apostle Paul was inspired to relate to us from 2Co.12 7-9> “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations – there was given to me a thorn in the flesh – the messenger of Satan to buffet me; lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me: My grace is sufficient for thee. For my strength is made perfect in weakness! Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Likewise is it truly the same in our earthly experiences.

The marvelous wonder of it all is that the suffering that the incarnated Christ came into our world and endured for us – as our sovereign Savior/substitute – He purposely did so unlike us – totally and completely without sin (all on our behalf)! He lived the perfectly holy life that we, because of our sinful nature and condition, could not even come close to being able to live. He lived perfectly holy in this fallen world in order to make all His redeemed ones as eternally perfectly holy as He is because we were loved, chosen and placed in Him before the foundation of this world! Yes, Praise the Lord, He eternally accomplished for us – and eternally applied to us – our eternal redemption and justification before holy God – and our eternal reconciliation with holy God. This is that which constitutes the grand news of the pure truth of the gospel of glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

So, when we follow in His steps and we go through the afflictions of this age – we are not suffering for our sins. No – our Lord and Savior has already done that! All that is demanded and included as far as our sins are concerned – “Jesus paid it all! All to Him we owe!” When we go through affliction and suffering in this world – it is not punishment. It is for our chastening and disciplining and spiritual development. We are being developed by the Holy Spirit’s divine wisdom, direction and instruction. He, through the trials and troubles of this sinful, fallen world is continually making us more able and effective servants for His use. Hence, like Paul we too will come to glory in our earthly sufferings that the power of Christ may rest upon us.

 

Devotional for March 2017

“In whom also we obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” [Eph.1:11; Heb.10:10,14]

According to the Word of God, each person of the Trinity is directly involved in eternally assuring the success of the true believing sinner’s sanctification. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit each have their own personal and unique involvement in the sanctification of all the eternally loved, chosen, placed in Christ and blessed: In short, all the saved.

First, they have been sanctified (or set apart) by the eternal purpose and will of God the Father. The Word of God says from Is.14:24: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn saying, Surely as I have thought so shall it come to pass, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” Hence, everything about the saved sinner is divinely determined and even predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the Triune Counsel of His own will.

Second, the saved one has been sanctified (or set apart) by the eternal Son of God. It is He that was covenanted from eternity to enter by incarnation into our fallen world where we were lost – in order to become the eternal Lamb of God and give His own life and to shed His own blood — to save us. Therefore, the Word of God describes that we are sanctified in the willingness of the eternal Son of God through the offering that He made of His body as being the Lord Jesus Christ, the only sovereign/Savior substitute that there ever was, is or ever will be. All this was accomplished: “according to the eternal purpose which He (God the Father) purposed in Christ Jesus (His beloved Son) our Lord.” [Eph.3:11]

Third, all the saved have been sanctified (or set apart) by the Holy Spirit of God. He it is that reveals to our hearts and minds the secret purposes of God’s great grace. He it is that also applies the eternally accomplished atonement of Christ very powerfully to our souls, and even to our conscience. He it is that seals to us the intimate and personal and eternal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ as being our Lord and Savior – our substitute – that, in turn, regenerates us. He it is that continues to progressively unfold the riches of God’s Word to us. He it is that satisfies our hunger and thirst after righteousness – renewing our minds – and centering all our thinking and longing on Christ our Savior.

The Holy Spirit’s entrance into the equation of the saved sinner’s life and being brings forth the quickening — that, in essence, brings forth the life and walk of the faith of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. It is His dwelling in us that causes us to fill the Biblical description of 2Thess.2:13: “…brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

Therefore, all three persons of the Godhead – the Great Triumvirate – have fulfilled the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ (the incarnated eternal Son of God) when He prayed in the garden the night before He went to the cross: “Sanctify them (lit.) in thy truth – thy Word is truth.” The very tense of the word, sanctify, in Christ’s statement to the Father suggests an already completed action by God upon all those for whom He prays. Praise His Wonderful Name!

For Christ’s Glory Only!
– John Carpenter

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