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

Devotional for May 2018

“Wherefore, as by one man – sin entered into the world – and death by sin – and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”

“For, if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace – and of the gift of righteousness – shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. (18) Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation – even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life! (19) For as one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners – so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (20) Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But, where sin abounded – grace did much more abound: (21) that as sin hath reigned unto death – even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Ro.5:12;17-20]

What a wonderful passage of scripture this truly is! Herein is declared – in this fallen-in-sin world – the right now realities of the pure truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! It declares two great spiritual realities that, in fact, contrast one another. There’s a dreaded eternal death being contrasted over against a glorious eternal life. Both of which have become inescapable realities in this fallen world – each brought to pass by one man respectfully.

When it says, by one man’s offensedeath reigned by one” – it’s referring to Adam when he fell into sin in the Garden. His deadly offense made him sinner, as well as, all those who have been conceived as his progeny in this world (both physically and spiritually). Then this scripture declares — to ever so greatly contrast Adam’s fall into failure and deadly ruin – much more[which means: to a much greater degree] they which receive abundance of graceand of the gift of righteousnessshall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ!” Adam – before we were even born – threw us under the bus of reigning sin — and the curse of the absolute perfection demanding law of God. In other words, he threw us all under the dreaded reality of sin and death. But, praise God for His incarnated eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the indisputable Savior of all of the sheepfold – all the friends and family – of God! They are the ones that the text refers to when it says, they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness”. And, it is they that shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ! What are we to conclude from this? Well, it plainly tells us! On the one hand, we are to conclude that through one man, Adam — God’s condemning judgment came upon all mankind. And, on the other hand, through the righteousness – lit. the one eternally accomplished righteousness – of one man, Christ Jesus – there came upon all who have received His grace, eternal justification of life! Wow! Praise His Most Wonderful Name!

The spiritual principle is explicitly explained from vs.19. It lit. says: For as by the disobedience of the one manthe many were constituted sinnersso also in this same waythrough the obedience of one [Christ Jesus] the many shall be constituted righteous.”  Vs.20 then goes on to further gloriously explain: Moreoverthe law entered that the offense might abound.”  In other words, the law substantiates the fact that all of mankind (or, all of Adam-kind) are condemned sinners! Nevertheless, scripture goes on to say, But, where sin aboundedgrace did much more (or, grace exceedingly) abounded!” Again, this is true for all those that vs.17 has descriptively declared as having received an abundance of God’s saving grace. All of this to lead us to the pure truth of vs.21: That as sin hath reigned lit. in death, lit. so also grace might reign through righteousness to life eternalthrough Jesus Christ our Lord.” How Wonderful!! Let us praise Him for all that He has done!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for April 2018

“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 the 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…” [Eph.1:19-21]

This is the month in which we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, this text is indeed a good one to examine. Of all the different scriptural contexts that describe the genuine faith of the true believer who is still in this fallen world – this is one of the most amazing! For this portion of scripture plainly declares that true saving faith is all of God!

In these three verses, “power”, is being alluded to from five different original sources – and all of which are describing the power of our Lord God. It is no wonder that Jesus, Himself, declared from Jn.6:29: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” In Eph.1:19, the Spirit of God through Paul declares that it, “is the exceeding greatness of God’s power to us who believe…”.The word used here for “power” literally means: miraculous power. This is a divine supernatural “power” that is not of this world at all! This is the same word for “power” that is used in Ro.1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth…” And then, the rest of Eph.1:19 really nails it when it goes on to describe of those who truly do believe – that they believe “according to the working of God’s mighty power”!

The original word that is translated as “working” is uniquely used in the New Testament, in that, it is used only in reference to supernatural power – whether of God, or of the Devil. We get our English word “energy” from this Greek word. It describes supernatural power in exercise. In this context where genuine faith in Christ is concerned – it is God’s supernatural power in exercise. Check out the way that it is used as the word for “operation”, when describing “faith” in Col.2:12: “the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Jesus from the dead. Next, there are the two words: “mighty power”. “Mighty” is from a word that connotes “strength” as it is used in Mk.12:30: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart – soul – mind – and strength”. But, in Eph.1:19 it is in direct reference with God’s “strong and mighty power”! The word that is inspired here — by the Holy Spirit — is a word that denotes a manifested “power” as being a specific act of God. Hence, all of these words connote the powerful and gracious work of God on our behalf – making us to be His true believing children while we are still in this tribulation filled world.

Eph.1:20-21 tells us that He completely wrought all of this out for us “in Christ”. According to Eph.1:3-4, this is where He chose us and placed us before the foundation of the world. Then it says that this was all completely worked out for us, “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 [This fifth word for “power” means sovereign authority] and might and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this [fallen-in-sin] world – but also in that which is to come” [the glorious new heavens and new earth wherein righteousness dwells]. In short, the sovereign power that God exercises and demonstrates in bestowing upon us the grace of His true saving faith is the same strong and mighty power that He gloriously manifested when He raised His beloved, incarnated and eternal Son from the dead! Praise His all-powerful Name!

For Christ’s Glory Only,

John Carpenter

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