Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

When God calls

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Ephesians 2:8-10
 

As Christians, we live by faith, and throughout the years make our own experiences in all things pertaining to life. In that we are a new creation, we have also received a changed basic attitude. The prerequisite for this is written in Acts 3:19-21 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” The Son of God is the pre-destined Redeemer of those who repent. Since God is the One who leads us to repentance through His goodness and grace and forbearance and long-suffering (Romans 2:4) it is clear that both repentance and conversion must be preceded by something before it can occur. This is the new birth! To this effect, Jesus said in John 6:44 “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.'' And to Nicodemus, the Pharisee, a leader and teacher to Israel, Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) We can therefore only do something towards God, which God has first done and given us out of His sovereign and free will. God first loved us (1 John 4:19). We read in Psalm 95:7-8 “For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart...” The door will be closed! When God calls those who are indecisive, doubters, liberals, religious and/or unbelievers and gives them clarity of repentance, they should never postpone or ignore it. We cannot repent when it suits us.

Charles Hodge (1797-1878) wrote to this effect that one can hardly conceive a doctrine so harmful to the soul as the doctrine that sinners can bring about their own rebirth and can repent and believe when it is convenient for them to do so. How and when these believers receive the new birth is a mystery and something which must occur in an unspectacular and secret manner. We read in the Bible, that this was established before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5 “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”) The Bible emphasizes, on many occasions, that no man can be justified by works (Galatians 2:16). This includes, not lastly, also the work one presumes to do through self-imposed faith. Yet no-one who perseveres in the faith today, chose himself (John 15:16) or came to repentance by his own initiative. It is God who acts, and whomever seeks the glory and honour of the saving faith by himself, or suspects it, is hugely mistaken. Such a person cannot be led by the Holy Spirit, because such an assumption is simply unbiblical (John 16:13-15). That which we read in Jeremiah 31:18 still applies “turn Thou me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God.”! There is no dogmatism or even injustice, as many sometimes presume here. God owes no-one anything. But God calls us – even today still. The words of Jesus Christ, His apostle and disciples and all who spoke through the Holy Spirit, is worthy of all acceptance and faith. Paul wrote to this effect in 2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Amen.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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