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

Devotional for February 2017

“I will direct their work in truth and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.” “Lead me in thy truth and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” “For this is good and acceptable unto God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth.” [Is.61:8; Ps.25:5; 1Ti.2:3-4]

Our Lord and Savior, who is the incarnated eternal Son of God, proclaimed of Himself that He is, “the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that “no man can come unto the Father, but through Him”. When the Spirit of Christ, Himself, speaks this truth to your heart, then, and only then, do you know without a doubt that it is indeed the truth! This marks our beginning in true Christianity. From this point forward – do we then realize in our lives what the above texts are descriptively declaring.

God first reveals us to ourselves and allows us to see the awful plight we are in as being the sinners that we truly are. We come to the end of ourselves in that bright all penetrating light. We see that we have no hope in ourselves to be able to save ourselves. We come to desperately see that we need another! This is the grace of repentance that the Spirit of God bestowes upon us. Then the Spirit of the Father reveals to our hearts the wonderful person and work of His beloved eternal Son. And, through His Spirit — and through His Word – He teaches us that He, and He alone, is our Savior. We wholeheartedly put all our trust in Him for our eternal salvation. This is the grace of faith that the Spirit of God works in us and through us. Praise His Name! We see by His Spirit of grace that we need another, and we see, by His grace that there is no other – but our sovereign Savior, Jesus Christ! He, indeed, is the only Way – He, indeed, is the only Truth – and He, indeed, is the only Way to the eternal Life that He, alone, is. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”– all glory to Him! The only Way to eternal Life is through the Truth concerning Him as being the only sovereign Savior substitute that there ever was, is, or ever will be!

The “Everlasting Covenant” that is mentioned in the Is.61 text above is the covenant that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit cut among themselves in eternity. This is what is commonly called, “The Covenant of Grace”; and this is what’s known as “The New Covenant.” It is in the fulfillment of this covenant when God the Father divinely purposed and decreed to send God the Son to become incarnated into the likeness of our sinful flesh and be our Savior and Messiah. It is in the fulfillment of this covenant that the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to quicken us by a revelation of the reality of our having been placed in Christ from eternity. He then seals us to Christ and directs and leads through this fallen world and on into heaven – the eternal abiding place of the full effulgence of His glory!

This same covenant is also mentioned in Ps.25:10,14: “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him – and He will show them His covenant.” It is revealing texts like these that form the context for that which 2Tim.2:19 descriptively declares when it says that: “…the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: The Lord knoweth them that are His! And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ – depart from iniquity!” All three persons of the eternal Godhead are here mentioned. This comes forward as a profound credal statement of saving truth.

It is from this Truth (which is Christ, Himself) that we are taught and directed; by which we are led and guided; in which we are rooted and established. We grow in God’s grace given knowledge and understanding – according to His good pleasure – unto the glory, only, of Christ Jesus.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter

Devotional for January 2017

“Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” [Lk.18:1]
“Pray without ceasing.” “Brethren, pray for us.” [1Th.5:17,25]
“Continue in prayer; watch in the same with thanksgiving; (3) withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ… (4) that I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.” [Col.4:2-4]

The Word of God contains many texts that contain descriptive phrases of the general way that things should be for any and every true Christian existing or living in this fallen and cursed world. The three texts above are examples of this.

The first of which comes to us directly from the lips of the person and being of the incarnated eternal Son of God, Himself. He issued this specifically to His disciples. The general plural term for man is not used. Therefore, He is really saying this unto any one of His true disciples that it behooves them to always be making the noun “prayer” into an active verb — and not to become weary of doing this in the troubled environment of this fallen and cursed world!

The second text comes to us from the Holy Spirit inspired pen of the apostle Paul. This phrase is included among a whole list of descriptive mandates and exhortations for true believers to follow in their daily walk by faith through this sinful world. And, it is important to also note that both of these texts are urging for prayer to be practiced in a broader way than when we worship in private. This text is not suggesting that we drop to our knees and pray at all times, but that when we walk in the Spirit, He will make us mindful of our sovereign Lord even when we find ourselves in the immediate presence of worldly trails and circumstances that we face in this world every day. We have a blood paved path via the eternally accomplished atonement of our Savior, Christ Jesus, that has consecrated for us access at any time into the very throne room of Almighty God! Praise and glory unto our Savior!

The third text is a more pointed and focused exhortation for us to ever be mindful that we need to be engaged in prayerfully seeking from our sovereign, all governing Savior and Lord that He ever be faithful to lead us into viable opportunities to proclaim the pure gospel unto this lost and perishing world all around us. This is the kind of praying that we here at Camp Del-Haven continually covet from all of you. This kind of praying — we hope and pray takes place when you gather together in church, or in groups of yourselves for genuine Christian fellowship. This is true even though in this Colossians context it is encouraged by the Holy Spirit inspired apostle (in regards to his particular ministry) to be performed, as he says, “withal”, or, “at the same time” that he commands them to earnestly persevere in the holy habit of prayer. The apostle, by the Holy Spirit, is seeking prayerful support for his continued perseverance in presenting the gospel of the glory, only, of Christ. And, this is what we desire from all of you — more than anything else.

For Christ’s Glory Only
-John Carpenter

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