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When God Becomes 100% for Us

Published by John Piper for reading on February 26th.

. . . among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. ( Ephesians 2:3 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:-- )

All of God’s wrath, all of the condemnation we deserve, was poured out on Jesus. All of God’s demands for perfect righteousness were fulfilled by Christ. The moment we see (by grace!) this Treasure, and receive him in this way, his death counts as our death and his condemnation as our condemnation and his righteousness as our righteousness, and God becomes 100% irrevocably for us forever in that instant.

The question this leaves unanswered is, “Doesn’t the Bible teach that in eternity God set his favor on us in election?”

In other words, thoughtful people ask, “Did God only become 100% for us in the moment of faith and union with Christ and justification? Did he not become 100% for us in the act of election before the foundation of the world?” Paul says in Ephesians 1:4 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: –5, “[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ.”

Is God then not 100% for the elect from eternity? The answer hangs on the meaning of “100%.”

With the term “100%” I am trying to preserve a biblical truth found in several passages of Scripture. For example, in Ephesians 2:3 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:-- , Paul says that Christians were “children of wrath” before they were made alive in Christ Jesus: “We all once lived [among the sons of disobedience] in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”

Paul is saying that, before our new birth — before we were made alive together with Christ — God’s wrath was on us. The elect were under wrath. This changed when God made us alive in Christ Jesus and awakened us to see the truth and beauty of Christ so that we received him as the one who died for us and as the one whose righteousness is counted as ours because of our union with Jesus. Before this happened to us, we were under God’s wrath. Then, because of faith in Christ and union with him, all God’s wrath was removed and he then became, in that sense, 100% for us.

Therefore, exult in the truth that God will keep you. He will get you to the end because in Christ he is 100% for you. And therefore, getting to the end does not make God to be 100% for you. It is the effect of the fact that he is already 100% for you.



A Debt Paid in Full

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on February 26th.

Colossians 2:13-14 13 And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, `I say', did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; 14 having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross;

Mankind has a debt problem. In the physical world, our desire for a higher standard of living and more stuff has led to burdensome credit card balances and unwieldy mortgage payments. The weight of what we owe can cause restless nights and the feeling that we’re trapped. We long for someone to rescue us from the mess we have made.

However, material indebtedness isn’t our biggest problem; our sin debt is. All of us were born with a flesh nature that prompts us to rebel against the Lord. Our rebelliousness is an affront to His holy nature, incurring a debt that we owe to Him. Until this penalty is paid, we are under God’s righteous judgment and remain spiritually separated from Him (Eph. 2:1-2). The trouble is, we are unable to pay what’s due. No amount of good works, self-sacrifice, or religious devotion will lessen what we owe.

So God, in His great mercy, sent His Son to rescue us. Jesus Christ left heaven and all of its glory so He could come to earth to live and die for us (Phil. 2:6-7). Although the cost to our Savior was enormous, He willingly paid the price we owed. He took our sins upon Himself, bore them to the cross, and discharged our debt in full. Hallelujah!

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, His atoning work is credited to our account. We become children of God and co-heirs with Christ as we’re changed from debtors to inheritors. (See 1 Peter 1:3-4 3 Blessed `be' the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, .) Let the knowledge of His sacrifice on the cross permeate every aspect of your life—your thinking, attitude, and choices.

Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 15-17 Chapter 15 1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. 2 And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release that which he hath lent unto his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother; because Jehovah's release hath been proclaimed. 3 Of a foreigner thou mayest exact it: but whatsoever of thine is with thy brother thy hand shall release. 4 Howbeit there shall be no poor with thee; (for Jehovah will surely bless thee in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it;) 5 if only thou diligently hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God, to observe to do all this commandment which I command thee this day. 6 For Jehovah thy God will bless thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over thee. 7 If there be with thee a poor man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates in thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thy hand from thy poor brother; 8 but thou shalt surely open thy hand unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need `in that' which he wanteth. 9 Beware that there be not a base thought in thy heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou give him nought; and he cry unto Jehovah against thee, and it be sin unto thee. 10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thy heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him; because that for this thing Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thy work, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto. 11 For the poor will never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt surely open thy hand unto thy brother, to thy needy, and to thy poor, in thy land. 12 If thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee. 13 And when thou lettest him go free from thee, thou shalt not let him go empty: 14 thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy threshing-floor, and out of thy winepress; as Jehovah thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him. 15 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and Jehovah thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to-day. 16 And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go out from thee; because he loveth thee and thy house, because he is well with thee; 17 then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maid-servant thou shalt do likewise. 18 It shall not seem hard unto thee, when thou lettest him go free from thee; for to the double of the hire of a hireling hath he served thee six years: and Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all that thou doest. 19 All the firstling males that are born of thy herd and of thy flock thou shalt sanctify unto Jehovah thy God: thou shalt do no work with the firstling of thy herd, nor shear the firstling of thy flock. 20 Thou shalt eat it before Jehovah thy God year by year in the place which Jehovah shall choose, thou and thy household. 21 And if it have any blemish, `as if it be' lame or blind, any ill blemish whatsoever, thou shalt not sacrifice it unto Jehovah thy God. 22 Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean and the clean `shall eat it' alike, as the gazelle, and as the hart. 23 Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it out upon the ground as water. Chapter 16 1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto Jehovah thy God; for in the month of Abib Jehovah thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2 And thou shalt sacrifice the passover unto Jehovah thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which Jehovah shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leaven seen with thee in all thy borders seven days; neither shall any of the flesh, which thou sacrificest the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee; 6 but at the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread; and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to Jehovah thy God; thou shalt do no work `therein'. 9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: from the time thou beginnest to put the sickle to the standing grain shalt thou begin to number seven weeks. 10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto Jehovah thy God with a tribute of a freewill-offering of thy hand, which thou shalt give, according as Jehovah thy God blesseth thee: 11 and thou shalt rejoice before Jehovah thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are in the midst of thee, in the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there. 12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes. 13 Thou shalt keep the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in from thy threshing-floor and from thy winepress: 14 and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, and the Levite, and the sojourner, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. 15 Seven days shalt thou keep a feast unto Jehovah thy God in the place which Jehovah shall choose; because Jehovah thy God will bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the work of thy hands, and thou shalt be altogether joyful. 16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before Jehovah empty: 17 every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of Jehovah thy God which he hath given thee. 18 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, according to thy tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. 19 Thou shalt not wrest justice: thou shalt not respect persons; neither shalt thou take a bribe; for a bribe doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee. 21 Thou shalt not plant thee an Asherah of any kind of tree beside the altar of Jehovah thy God, which thou shalt make thee. 22 Neither shalt thou set thee up a pillar; which Jehovah thy God hateth. Chapter 17 1 Thou shalt not sacrifice unto Jehovah thy God an ox, or a sheep, wherein is a blemish, `or' anything evil; for that is an abomination unto Jehovah thy God. 2 If there be found in the midst of thee, within any of thy gates which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that doeth that which is evil in the sight of Jehovah thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 3 and hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 4 and it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, then shalt thou inquire diligently; and, behold, if it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel, 5 then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, who hath done this evil thing, unto thy gates, even the man or the woman; and thou shalt stone them to death with stones. 6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is to die be put to death; at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. 7 The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. So thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee. 8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates; then shalt thou arise, and get thee up unto the place which Jehovah thy God shall choose; 9 and thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days: and thou shalt inquire; and they shall show thee the sentence of judgment. 10 And thou shalt do according to the tenor of the sentence which they shall show thee from that place which Jehovah shall choose; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they shall teach thee: 11 according to the tenor of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do; thou shalt not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that doeth presumptuously, in not hearkening unto the priest that standeth to minister there before Jehovah thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. 14 When thou art come unto the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me; 15 thou shalt surely set him king over thee, whom Jehovah thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee; thou mayest not put a foreigner over thee, who is not thy brother. 16 Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; forasmuch as Jehovah hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of `that which is' before the priests the Levites: 19 and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them; 20 that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Israel.




Daily Bible - February 26

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 26th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 21:1 Chapter 21 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none defile himself for the dead among his people; –22:33
  • Psalms 27:11-14 11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; And lead me in a plain path, Because of mine enemies. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries: For false witnesses are risen up against me, And such as breathe out cruelty. 13 `I had fainted', unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah In the land of the living. 14 Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah. Psalm 28 `A Psalm' of David.
  • Proverbs 10:13-16 13 In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. 14 Wise men lay up knowledge; But the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction. 15 The rich man's wealth is his strong city: The destruction of the poor is their poverty. 16 The labor of the righteous `tendeth' to life; The increase of the wicked, to sin.
  • Mark 5:21-43 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him; and he was by the sea. 22 And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falleth at his feet, 23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: `I pray thee', that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole, and live. 24 And he went with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him. 25 And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 having heard the things concerning Jesus, came in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power `proceeding' from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. 35 While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the synagogue's `house' saying, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further? 36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow with him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he beholdeth a tumult, and `many' weeping and wailing greatly. 39 And when he was entered in, he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? the child is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all forth, taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that were with him, and goeth in where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, he saith unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. 42 And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked; for she was twelve years old. And they were amazed straightway with a great amazement. 43 And he charged them much that no man should know this: and he commanded that `something' should be given her to eat.

Notes:

Leviticus 21:16–23 defect. Just as the sacrifice had to be without blemish, so did the one offering the sacrifice. As visible things exert strong impressions on the minds of people, any physical impurity or malformation tended to distract from the weight and authority of the sacred office, failed to externally exemplify the inward wholeness God sought, and failed to be a picture of Jesus Christ, the Perfect High Priest to come (see Heb. 7:26).

Proverbs 10:13 rod. This first reference to corporal punishment applied to the backside (see 19:29; 26:3) recommends it as the most effective way of dealing with children and fools. See also 13:24; 18:6; 19:29; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 26:3; 29:15.

Mark 5:26 suffered many things from many physicians. In New Testament times, it was common practice in difficult medical cases for people to consult many different doctors and receive a variety of treatments. The supposed cures were often conflicting, abusive, and many times made the ailment worse, not better. (Luke, the physician, in Luke 8:43 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, who had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any, suggested the woman was not helped because her condition was incurable.)

Mark 5:38 wept and wailed. In that culture, a sure sign that a death had occurred. Because burial followed soon after death, it was the people’s only opportunity to mourn publicly. The wailing was especially loud and mostly from paid mourners.

DAY 26: What do the healings of Mark 5 Chapter 5 1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain; 4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. 5 And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out of the man. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there on the mountain side a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And they besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, `in number' about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea. 14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass. 15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, `even' him that had the legion: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine. 17 And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders. 18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him. 19 And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and `how' he had mercy on thee. 20 And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled. 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him; and he was by the sea. 22 And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falleth at his feet, 23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: `I pray thee', that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole, and live. 24 And he went with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him. 25 And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 having heard the things concerning Jesus, came in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power `proceeding' from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. 35 While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the synagogue's `house' saying, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further? 36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow with him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he beholdeth a tumult, and `many' weeping and wailing greatly. 39 And when he was entered in, he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? the child is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all forth, taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that were with him, and goeth in where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, he saith unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. 42 And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked; for she was twelve years old. And they were amazed straightway with a great amazement. 43 And he charged them much that no man should know this: and he commanded that `something' should be given her to eat. teach us about faith?

Upon hearing about Jesus, the woman with the flow of blood said to herself, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well” (v. 28). Her faith in Jesus’ healing powers was so great that she believed even indirect contact with Him through His garments would be enough to produce a cure. Jesus’ response to her touch and healing was that “your faith has made you well” (v. 34). The form of the Greek verb translated “has made you well,” which can also be rendered “has made you whole,” indicates that her healing was complete. It is the same Greek word often translated “to save” and is the normal New Testament word for saving from sin, which strongly suggests that the woman’s faith also led to spiritual salvation.

Jesus’ response to the announced death of Jairus’s daughter was simply, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (v. 36). The verb is a command for present, continuous action urging Jairus to maintain the faith he had initially demonstrated in coming to Jesus. Christ knew there was no other proper response to Jairus’s helpless situation, and He was confident of faith’s outcome ( Luke 8:50 50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole. ). Even in the face of ridicule, Jesus said, “The child is not dead, but sleeping” (v. 39).With this figurative expression, Jesus meant that the girl was not dead in the normal sense, because her condition was temporary and would be reversed (see note on Matt. 9:24; see John 11:11 11 These things spake he: and after this he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. –14; Acts 7:60 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. ; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

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God Is Faithful to Keep Us

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 26th.

“Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:24 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it. ).

God is faithful in forgiving our sins and securing our salvation.

We have learned that God protects us from temptation, but what happens when we don’t rely on God and give in to sin? John has the answer: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ( 1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ). The Lord says in Jeremiah 31:34 34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more. , “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” God has promised to forgive, and He is faithful to do so.

God’s faithfulness stands out especially in His preserving His people for glory. He secures our salvation. Paul says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will preserve us so that we may be “without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” because He is “faithful” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

There was once a boy whose dad left him on a downtown street corner and told him to wait there until he returned in about half an hour. But the father’s car broke down, and he could not get to a phone. Five hours went by before the father managed to get back, and he thought his son would be in a state of panic. But when the father returned, the boy was standing in front of the corner dime store, looking in the window and rocking back and forth on his heels. The father threw his arms around him, apologized, and said, “Weren’t you worried? Did you think I was never coming back?” The boy replied, “No, Dad. I knew you were coming. You said you would.”

God is always faithful to His promises. The father in the story was unable to keep his promise because of circumstances out of his control. But God is able to overcome any circumstances to keep His word. With a simple faith like that boy’s, we can always say, “I knew you would do it, God. You said you would.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God for simple faith to trust Him whatever the situation.

For Further Study

David rejoices in God’s faithfulness in Psalms 103 Chapter 103 1 Bless Jehovah, O my soul; And all that is within me, `bless' his holy name. 2 Bless Jehovah, O my soul, And forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy desire with good things, `So that' thy youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 Jehovah executeth righteous acts, And judgments for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, His doings unto the children of Israel. 8 Jehovah is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness. 9 He will not always chide; Neither will he keep `his anger' for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins, Nor rewarded us after our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is his lovingkindness toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, So Jehovah pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; And the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the lovingkindness of Jehovah is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, And his righteousness unto children's children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, And to those that remember his precepts to do them. 19 Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens; And his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless Jehovah, ye his angels, That are mighty in strength, that fulfil his word, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless Jehovah, all ye his hosts, Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless Jehovah, all ye his works, In all places of his dominion: Bless Jehovah, O my soul. . Make a list of all the ways God demonstrates His faithfulness in this psalm.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Enjoying a Bountiful Harvest

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 26th.
"Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10).

Your fruitfulness is directly related to your knowledge of divine truth.

Every farmer who enjoys a plentiful harvest does so only after diligent effort on his part. He must cultivate the soil, plant the seed, then nurture it to maturity. Each step is thoughtful, disciplined, and orderly.

Similarly, bearing spiritual fruit is not an unthinking or haphazard process. It requires us to be diligent in pursuing the knowledge of God's will, which is revealed in His Word. That is Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9 9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard `it', do not cease to pray and make request for you, that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, , which he reiterates in verse 10.

The phrase "increasing in the knowledge of God" (v. 10) can be translated, "increasing by the knowledge of God." Both renderings are acceptable. The first emphasizes the need to grow; the second emphasizes the role that knowledge plays in your spiritual growth.

As your knowledge of God's Word increases, the Holy Spirit renews your mind and transforms your thinking. As you gaze into the glory of the Lord as revealed in Scripture, you "are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (2 Cor. 3:18). You have "put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him" (Col. 3:10).

One of Satan's ploys to retard spiritual productivity is getting Christians preoccupied with humanistic philosophy and other bankrupt substitutes for God's truth. That's why he planted false teachers at Colosse to teach that knowing God's will is inadequate for true spirituality. Paul refuted that claim by affirming that Christ is the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). In Him are "hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3). He is all you need!

Scripture commands you to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Is that characteristic of your life? Are you looking forward to a bountiful spiritual harvest?

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God for the privilege of knowing His will and studying His Word.
  • Prayerfully guard your mind from sinful influences. Saturate it with God's truth.

For Further Study

Read the following passages, noting the effects of God's Word: Psalms 119:9 9 BETH. Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed `thereto' according to thy word. , 105; Acts 20:32 32 And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build `you' up, and to give `you' the inheritance among all them that are sanctified. ; Romans 10:17 17 So belief `cometh' of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 13 And for this cause we also thank God without ceasing, that, when ye received from us the word of the message, `even the word' of God, ye accepted `it' not `as' the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God, which also worketh in you that believe. ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17 14 But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. 15 And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture inspired of God `is' also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. 17 That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. ; Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do. ; 1 John 2:14 14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye know him who is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the evil one. .

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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February 26

Published by Grace To You for reading on February 26th.

Reading for Today:

  • Leviticus 21:1 Chapter 21 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none defile himself for the dead among his people; –22:33
  • Psalms 27:11-14 11 Teach me thy way, O Jehovah; And lead me in a plain path, Because of mine enemies. 12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine adversaries: For false witnesses are risen up against me, And such as breathe out cruelty. 13 `I had fainted', unless I had believed to see the goodness of Jehovah In the land of the living. 14 Wait for Jehovah: Be strong, and let thy heart take courage; Yea, wait thou for Jehovah. Psalm 28 `A Psalm' of David.
  • Proverbs 10:13-16 13 In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. 14 Wise men lay up knowledge; But the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction. 15 The rich man's wealth is his strong city: The destruction of the poor is their poverty. 16 The labor of the righteous `tendeth' to life; The increase of the wicked, to sin.
  • Mark 5:21-43 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him; and he was by the sea. 22 And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falleth at his feet, 23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: `I pray thee', that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole, and live. 24 And he went with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him. 25 And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 having heard the things concerning Jesus, came in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power `proceeding' from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. 35 While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the synagogue's `house' saying, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further? 36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow with him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he beholdeth a tumult, and `many' weeping and wailing greatly. 39 And when he was entered in, he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? the child is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all forth, taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that were with him, and goeth in where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, he saith unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. 42 And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked; for she was twelve years old. And they were amazed straightway with a great amazement. 43 And he charged them much that no man should know this: and he commanded that `something' should be given her to eat.

Notes:

Leviticus 21:16–23 defect. Just as the sacrifice had to be without blemish, so did the one offering the sacrifice. As visible things exert strong impressions on the minds of people, any physical impurity or malformation tended to distract from the weight and authority of the sacred office, failed to externally exemplify the inward wholeness God sought, and failed to be a picture of Jesus Christ, the Perfect High Priest to come (see Heb. 7:26).

Proverbs 10:13 rod. This first reference to corporal punishment applied to the backside (see 19:29; 26:3) recommends it as the most effective way of dealing with children and fools. See also 13:24; 18:6; 19:29; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 26:3; 29:15.

Mark 5:26 suffered many things from many physicians. In New Testament times, it was common practice in difficult medical cases for people to consult many different doctors and receive a variety of treatments. The supposed cures were often conflicting, abusive, and many times made the ailment worse, not better. (Luke, the physician, in Luke 8:43 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, who had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of any, suggested the woman was not helped because her condition was incurable.)

Mark 5:38 wept and wailed. In that culture, a sure sign that a death had occurred. Because burial followed soon after death, it was the people’s only opportunity to mourn publicly. The wailing was especially loud and mostly from paid mourners.

DAY 26: What do the healings of Mark 5 Chapter 5 1 And they came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when he was come out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling in the tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain; 4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. 5 And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out of the man. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he saith unto him, My name is Legion; for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there on the mountain side a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And they besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered into the swine: and the herd rushed down the steep into the sea, `in number' about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea. 14 And they that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they came to see what it was that had come to pass. 15 And they come to Jesus, and behold him that was possessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, `even' him that had the legion: and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it declared unto them how it befell him that was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine. 17 And they began to beseech him to depart from their borders. 18 And as he was entering into the boat, he that had been possessed with demons besought him that he might be with him. 19 And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and `how' he had mercy on thee. 20 And he went his way, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men marvelled. 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him; and he was by the sea. 22 And there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he falleth at his feet, 23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: `I pray thee', that thou come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be made whole, and live. 24 And he went with him; and a great multitude followed him, and they thronged him. 25 And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 having heard the things concerning Jesus, came in the crowd behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power `proceeding' from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague. 35 While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the synagogue's `house' saying, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Teacher any further? 36 But Jesus, not heeding the word spoken, saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Fear not, only believe. 37 And he suffered no man to follow with him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. 38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; and he beholdeth a tumult, and `many' weeping and wailing greatly. 39 And when he was entered in, he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? the child is not dead, but sleepeth. 40 And they laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all forth, taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that were with him, and goeth in where the child was. 41 And taking the child by the hand, he saith unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise. 42 And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked; for she was twelve years old. And they were amazed straightway with a great amazement. 43 And he charged them much that no man should know this: and he commanded that `something' should be given her to eat. teach us about faith?

Upon hearing about Jesus, the woman with the flow of blood said to herself, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well” (v. 28). Her faith in Jesus’ healing powers was so great that she believed even indirect contact with Him through His garments would be enough to produce a cure. Jesus’ response to her touch and healing was that “your faith has made you well” (v. 34). The form of the Greek verb translated “has made you well,” which can also be rendered “has made you whole,” indicates that her healing was complete. It is the same Greek word often translated “to save” and is the normal New Testament word for saving from sin, which strongly suggests that the woman’s faith also led to spiritual salvation.

Jesus’ response to the announced death of Jairus’s daughter was simply, “Do not be afraid; only believe” (v. 36). The verb is a command for present, continuous action urging Jairus to maintain the faith he had initially demonstrated in coming to Jesus. Christ knew there was no other proper response to Jairus’s helpless situation, and He was confident of faith’s outcome ( Luke 8:50 50 But Jesus hearing it, answered him, Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made whole. ). Even in the face of ridicule, Jesus said, “The child is not dead, but sleeping” (v. 39).With this figurative expression, Jesus meant that the girl was not dead in the normal sense, because her condition was temporary and would be reversed (see note on Matt. 9:24; see John 11:11 11 These things spake he: and after this he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus is fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. –14; Acts 7:60 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. ; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:13, 14).

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources        

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 26th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 26th.

Jonah 2:9 9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation is of Jehovah.

SALVATION is the work of God. It is He alone who quickens the soul "dead in trespasses and sins," and it is He also who maintains the soul in its spiritual life. He is both "Alpha and Omega." "Salvation is of the Lord." If I am prayerful, God makes me prayerful; if I have graces, they are God's gifts to me; if I hold on in a consistent life, it is because He upholds me with His hand. I do nothing whatever towards my own preservation, except what God Himself first does in me. Whatever I have, all my goodness is of the Lord alone. Wherein I sin, that is my own; but wherein I act rightly, that is of God, wholly and completely. If I have repulsed a spiritual enemy, the Lord's strength nerved my arm. Do I live before men a consecrated life? It is not I, but Christ who liveth in me. Am I sanctified? I did not cleanse myself: God's Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I weaned from the world? I am weaned by God's chastisements sanctified to my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my jewels were fashioned by heavenly art. I find in God all that I want; but I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. "He only is my rock and my salvation." Do I feed on the Word? That Word would be no food for me unless the Lord made it food for my soul, and helped me to feed upon it. Do I live on the manna which comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself incarnate, whose body and whose blood I eat and drink? Am I continually receiving fresh increase of strength? Where do I gather my might? My help cometh from heaven's hills: without Jesus I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bring forth fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can I, except I abide in Him. What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my closet: "Salvation is of the Lord."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for February 26th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on February 26th.

Leviticus 13:13 13 then the priest shall look; and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce `him' clean `that hath' the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.

STRANGE enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building—and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus—

"For let our debts be what they may, however great or small, As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all. 'Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large: While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge."

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