Devotional for January 2023

(30) “And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. (31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son – and thou shalt call His Name, Jesus. (32) He shall be Great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest – and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father, David: (33) And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever – and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. (34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35)And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee – therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” [Lk.1:30-35]

In the light of the dawning of a New Year – we shall consider the last four of Ten pure gospel descriptions that are unfolded in the angel, Gabriel’s announcement unto young Mary — who was chosen to be the mother of the Son of Man, Christ Jesus. Having last month looked at the first six of the ten descriptions – we are ready to consider the last four. Hence, the Seventh pure gospel description of Christ is found in vs.33, which says: And He shall reign over the House of Jacob foreverand of His Kingdom there shall be no end.” Now Jacob represents all the individual persons whom God has loved from eternity! Jacob, also, has been — from the Word of God — depicted as being the sinner/child of the household of Isaac – the miracle son of Abraham and Sarah! Jacob proved to be the sneaky – lying – sinner that surreptitiously got what he wanted by trickery — in regards to Esau’s birthright and his father Isaac’s best blessing. And, God declared to Rebecca — before the twin boys were even born – that He loved Jacob and He hated Esau [see: Ro9:13]! Gabriel tells Mary that her Son will be the promised Seed through whom the Serpent, Satan, will be destroyed. And — He will also be the Sovereign Savior Substitute for all His people; His family; His Church; and His elect-to-eternal life. He will reign over the Household of Jacob forever — and His Kingdom shall have no end! These are obviously all of God’s chosen sinner/-children who will be eternally saved by God’s grace through the meritorious and vicarious person and work of His only-begotten, beloved Son! Praise His Name!

When Mary hears this news – she is beside herself  in amazement and asks a most obvious question: “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”  To which Gabriel answers by delivering the Eighth pure gospel description of Christ! And this one comes from the first part of vs.35. He said to her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee…”. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit was in charge of the performance and the success of absolutely everything that had to do with the incarnation of the eternal Son of God – and, as well, the creation of our world – and — the eternal Salvation of our souls! Therefore, the Holy Spirit’s presence and power is also absolutely necessary for the performance and success of all of us making it through this fallen world following Christ Jesus every step of the way – on into His (and consequently our) heavenly glory!

This brings us to the Ninth pure gospel description in this wonderful portion of scripture. The next thing that Gabriel is sent to tell Mary is: “…and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee…”. This obviously refers to God the Father! So, we have the presence and power of the whole Trinity at work in the performance of this most wonderful miracle of God’s grace in order to effectually save all the souls of His entire eternal family! The incarnation of the eternal Son of God was the supreme preternatural act of omnipotent divine intervention of God’s love and grace. It is completely unprecedented as far as God’s miracles are concerned! Glory to His Name!

The Tenth pure gospel description is that Mary’s sonwill also be called the Son of God. Amen.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!  John Carpenter

Devotional for December 2022

(30) “And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. (31) And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son – and thou shalt call His Name, Jesus. (32) He shall be Great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest – and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father, David: (33) And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever – and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. (34) Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (35)And the angel answered and said unto her, the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee – therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” [Lk.1:30-35]

This significant portion of scripture brings forward Ten descriptive pure gospel declarations that when — put altogether – comprises the true purpose and substance of the whole Bible. It’s all about Christ! He is our all and in all!”[see: Col.3:11] Our history – truly does become His Story! Let us look this month at the first six of these pure gospel descriptives and the last four next month.

First of all, from vs.30 – the God of Peace bears witness with young Mary of Nazareth that – just like Noah [see:: Ge.6:8] — she is a true recipient of God’s eternally saving grace. This is what Gabriel means when he says unto her – thou hast found favor with God”. And, it is in this same way that the Spirit of God deals with each one His chosen sinner/children [see: Ro.8:16-17]. #2> From vs.31 He reveals to her that she has been chosen to be the Woman through whom the prophecies of Ge.3:15 and Is.7:14 – concerning Jesus Christ – would be fulfilled! [See those two texts] #3> The Angel Gabriel also announces that the Name of the miracle Son that she will give birth to – will be, Jesus. It is from Mt.1:21 that we are told that this same truth was revealed unto Joseph. The text says that he was told — in advance: And she shall bring forth a Sonand thou shalt call His Name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins!” The Name Jesus, of course, means: Savior.

From vs.32 we have three more identifying pure gospel descriptive declarations concerning the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ: #4> He shall be Great”; #5> and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and #6> “and the Lord God shall give unto Himthe Throne of His father David! In regards to #4, the scripture from He 4:14 and 13:20 plainly says: Seeing then that we havea Great High Priestthat is passed into the heavensJesus, the Son of Godlet us hold fast our profession (or, more lit. our confession); And, Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesusthat Great Shepherd of the sheep(lit.) in the blood of the Everlasting Covenant…”.

And then — in regards to #5 and #6 – there is: Is.57:15 and Ps.132:11. As far as Jesus being described as the Son of the Highest” – He is the Son of God the Father described in Is.57:15 which says: For thus saith the High and Lofty Onethat inhabiteth eternitywhose Name is Holy! I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” This describes the whole ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is none more exalted than He! God the Father is the One who declared of the incarnation of Christ from Ps.2:7> Thou art my Sonthis day have I begotten Thee.” And Jesus said from Jn.10:30> I and my Father are One!” And #6, Ps.132:11-12 goes on to say: The Lord has sworn in Truth unto David; He will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy Throne. (12) If thy children shall keep my Covenant and my testimony that I shall teach themtheir children shall sit upon thy Throne for evermore!” In Christ – it has been forever done! Amen.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for November 2022

“And whatsoever ye do – in word or (lit.) in work – do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus – giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.!” [Col.3:17]

“But God be thanked – that ye were the servants of sin – but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” [Rom.6:17]

The verse right before the first one (Col.3:16) exhorts us as being God’s elect-to-eternal salvation to: Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly; or, “abundantly”! So much so (in accordance with 3:17) as to influence all our words and all our works! So that everything that we do – in the entirety of our beings — including all our thoughts, intents and motives – we do – we perform — as living proof that we are indeed the true children of the Christ, our God. And, this, in turn, brings forth the wonderful reality of that which is descriptively declared unto us from our second text, Rom.6:17! Which introduces to us something that we can truly be thankful to God alone for. Let us, therefore, examine this truly grand premise.

Rom.6:17 declares dogmatically that something fantastic has happened unto us by God’s grace! And, it is from Rom.6:18 that we have it clearly laid out what that something is. It says: Being then made free from sinye became the servants of righteousness!” Wow! What exactly is this portion of scripture saying to us?

In order for us to get the full and actual impact of what God’s Word is declaring here we need to understand the language that it is really using here. When it says in its use of the word “servants” – it is literally meaning: “bondslaves”. A bondslave is always subject to the contextual reality of their actual circumstances. This is what they are bound (or, bonded) to. They are not truly free and independent contractors, or actors. They are the property of their taskmasters who have their entire being – and will — under their complete control – at all times!

When Jesus taught plainly and clearly from Jn.8, He said from vs.34: Verily, verily, I say unto you whosoever committeth sin is the servant [or, lit., “the bondslave”] of sin.” This statement includes every single one of us – without exception! Who doesn’t commit sin?! So, who isn’t a bondslave of sin? Therefore, who in this fallen-in-sin world has a free will? No one – that’s who. Who isn’t a sinner? Again – No one – that’s who! For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!” [Rom.3:23]. Rom.6:20-22 is extremely relevant to this premise – when it says: For when ye were the servants [or, more lit., “the bondslaves”] of sinye were free from righteousness. (21) What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed(?) – for the end of those things is death. (22) But nowbeing made free from sinand become servants [or again, more lit., “bondslaves”] to God, ye have your fruit unto holinessand the end everlasting life!” Praise the Name of our Savior, God – the Lord Jesus Christ!

This brings us full circle back around to Col.3:17! And whatsoever ye do in word or workdo all in the Name of the Lord Jesusgiving thanks to God and the Fatherby Him!” And, Rom.6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants [or, “the bondslaves”] of sinbut ye have obeyed from the heart that form of Doctrine [lit.] whereunto ye were delivered.” In other words, the real truth of the matter is that God always delivers His true children over into the hearing and seeing and receiving and believing the pure truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ! Hence, Jesus says: And ye shall know the truthand the truth shall make you free!” Jn.8:32

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpnter

Devotional for October 2022

“Now the God of  Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep – through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, (21) make you perfect in every good work to do His will – working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ – to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [He.13:20-21]

We now continue to consider this wonderful text of scripture concerning our Lord Jesus Christ as being theGreat Shepherd of the Sheep”. This final descriptive of the Christ of God is also highly significant when it is put in conjunction with the opening statement of the epistle. From where Christ is also exalted as being God’s perfect representative and spokesman — declaring the things of God – to us who are His chosen sinner/children whom He has singled out of all of fallen-in-sin humanity to be made perfect by His great grace! These two statements are like bookends unto the whole context of the message of the epistle of Hebrews. It’s all about the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ!

In the center of the epistle we find the astounding announcement of He.7:12-13 – which concerns all of us, His sinner/children in this law-cursed world – having been made perfect in order to be divinely approved and accepted into God’s all glorious and heavenly presence for all eternity. That great descriptive statement is: For the priesthood being changedthere ismade of necessitya change also of (the) law. For He of whom these tidings are spokenpertaineth to another tribe of which no man gave attendance at the altar.”  Hence, the Lord Jesus – the Christ of God – is also forever titled – not only – the Great Shepherd of the sheep – but also as being our Great High Priest! [see: He.4:14]  This makes all the difference where all of God’s eternally loved and chosen are concerned! This descriptive declaration is that which connects God’s eternal purpose (for us) with His eternal performance making what He has done (on our behalf) to be entirely perfect!

Jesus, our eternal Savior and Surety, is – in every way – God almighty. Yes, Jesus is all-knowing, all-present, all-glorious and all Holy God. Col.2:9-10 plainly says: For in Him dwells all the fulness of the GodheadBodily…”! And, the next revealing statement of this text is just too wonderful for fallen human words – “…and Ye are complete in Him which is the Head of all principality and power.”

The preaching of the Word of the Cross declares dogmatically that this has all been done – finished – by our Great God, Jesus the Christ. It was all done when He – voluntarily – shed His own Blood and purged us from all of our sins (which the epistle of Hebrews declares dogmatically at it’s very beginning). Having eternally accomplishing the purging of all our sins – He rightfully occupied the sovereign, over-ruling throne of His Great Grace – from where He sovereignly rules over all His sinner/children throughout the generations of fallen humanity. [see: He.1:3;8-9]

This preaching of the Word of the Cross – according to 1Co.1:18 is: to them who (lit.) are perishingfoolishnessbut unto us (lit.) which are being savedit is the power of God.” And, this is why our Savior is titled: “(that) Great Shepherd of the sheep (lit.) inthe Blood of the everlasting Covenant…”  His sheep being all those whom He knows and all those whom they have – by His grace – come to know Him (Jn.10:14)! Wherefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider [or, more lit., fully behold] the Apostle and High Priestof our profession [or, more lit., “confession”] Christ Jesus[He. 3:1]. Praise His All Glorious Name!

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for September 2022

“Now the God of  Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep – through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, (21) make you perfect in every good work to do His will – working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ – to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [He.13:20-21]

The epistle of Hebrews is – by itself – a strong declaration of the sovereignty of Christ, our Savior. These two verses at the end of Hebrews once again, without reservation herald out the Truth that if our eternal salvation be not all Christthen it is all wrong! The God of all peace dogmatically says that our Lord Jesus is – that Great Shepherd of the sheep (lit.) in the blood of the Everlasting Covenant! There is only one – Great Shepherd. This speaks volumes unto us!

The incarnated eternal Son of God – the Lord Jesus Christ – is as He.1:3 describes — the express imageof the very person of Almighty and Sovereign God. And, it is Him who speaks unto us the soul-quickening and life trans-forming Word of God. Praise His Name! When He – that Great Shepherd of the sheep (lit.) in the blood of the Everlasting Covenant” – “by Himself purged our sins”, [i.e. by Himself – He purified us from all of our sins; see 2Co.5:21] He, then sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High! It is from this, Most High vantage point –  that He sovereignly reigns over all those whom the Father has given Him [see: Jn.6:37]. It is these who are the sheep of His pasture. The sheepthat He leads. The sheepthat He loves and cares for. The “sheep” that He knows personally – and who know Him. The “sheep” for whom He died!”

The Great Shepherdof He.13 is the Good Shepherdof Jn.10. Jn.10:11 proves this to be true. From there Jesus says: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.”  By the eternally accomplished atonement of Christ – the Great Shepherd” – eternally secured Peacebetween God and all His sinner/sheep – by having purified them from all their sins in His shed blood! That’s why our text says that, Now the God of Peacethat brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus(lit.) in the power of the blood of the Eternal Covenant”. This is the Covenant between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – the Everlasting Covenant that concerns the Everlasting Salvation of each and every one of our Lord’s sinner/sheep. And, what’s more — our Lord Jesus is also the Lamb of God – the One Great Sacrifice! He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” [Re.13:8]

Then Jesus goes on to say in Jn.10:14: I am the Good Shepherdand know my sheep and am known of mine.” And, eventually our Lord plainly clarifies for the unbelieving Jews by saying to them vs.26-30: But ye believe notbecauseye are not of my sheepas I said unto you. (27) My sheep hear my voice and I Know them and they follow me (28) and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perishneither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father which gave them me is greater than alland no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. (30) I and my Father are One.” How absolutely wonderful is that!? Praise the Savior!

Remember, the Shepherd doesn’t drive His flock – He leads it. This points to the fact that wherever we end up – our Shepherd was there first. Our Great Shepherdis also our Great High Priest”.He.4:14 substantiates this truth: Seeing then that we have a Great High Priestthat is passed into the heavensJesus the Son of Godlet us hold fast our profession.”

We will look more deeply into these things next time.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for August 2022

“It is the Spirit that quickeneth – the flesh profiteth nothing – the words that I speak unto you – are Spirit and are life!” [Jn.6:63]

“…God hath chosen…things which are not – to bring to nought things that are – that no flesh should glory in His presence. (30) But of Him – are ye in Christ Jesus – who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption: (31) that according as it is written – He that glorieth – let him glory in the Lord.” [1Cor.1:29b-31]

“I will cry unto God Most High – unto God – that performeth all things for me. (3) He shall send from heaven and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up! Selah. God shall send forth His mercy and His Truth.” [Ps.57:2-3]

Not only does the pure truth of the gospel of the glory only of the Lord Jesus Christ include God’s Wisdom, Christ’s Righteousness and the Holy Spirit’s Sanctification – but it also includes all of our Eternal Redemption. And, this can only be done through the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ! Beloved, if it’s not all Christ (in whose body dwells all the fullness of the Godhead) it’s all wrong!

We can’t be redeemed by ourselves. The Word of God makes it clear – we need a “Kinsman Redeemer”. And, that person can only be our Lord Jesus!

It has been most accurately taught and brought into the Light of the Truth concerning the historical expression of Triune God’s Everlasting Love and Mercy for all His chosen sinner/children.  Throughout the time of the Old Covenant — it was perfectly and prophetically demonstrated that there was an absolute necessity for a “Kinsman Redeemer” to be our only Savior from our sin.  This truth and mandate was firmly laid down — in and throughout — the formally installed Mosaic sacrificial system. I quote:  “The theological foundation for the expression of God’s chesed under the Old Covenant was the satisfaction of God’s perfect righteousness – through the elaborate system of animal sacrifices that taught Israel – that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins”.  Because that system of animal sacrifices could never take away sins (cf. Heb 10:4, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins”), the inadequate OT system of animal sacrifices previewed the coming of the Lamb of God whose once for all sacrifice would take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). This pictured future sacrifice of the Lamb of God became the foundation for the expression of God’s chesed in the OT.”  “Chesed” is the Hebrew word for God’s eternally Love, Mercy and Grace! Read and heed what God’s Word declares:

He.9:11-15: But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to comeby a greater and more perfect tabernaclenot made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (or, creation) (12) neither by the blood of goats and calvesbutby His own bloodHe entered in once into the Holy Placehaving obtained Eternal Redemption (for us). (13)For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the uncleanSanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: (14) how much more shall the blood of Christwho through the Eternal Spiritoffered Himself without spot to Godpurge your conscience from dead worksto serve the living God? (15) And for this causeHe is the (eternal) Mediatorof the New Testament (or, Covenant) that by means of death for the Redemption of the transgressions (lit.) under the First (or, the Old) Testament (or, Covenant) they (lit.) who have been called might receive the promise of Eternal Inheritance.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is not just the  Provider of these things, but He is the Performer of them.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter