Grace to You Devotionals

Devotionals

October 18

God's Transforming Word

"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul" (Ps. 19:7).

God can transform you through His Word into the person He wants you to be.

Many today doubt the power of Scripture in dealing with the deeper aspects of the human heart and mind. The Bible may be helpful for certain superficial or "spiritual" problems, they say, but it's too simplistic and inadequate for the more complex psychological issues of modern man. The truth is, however, the best psychology can do is modify external behavior. It cannot redeem and transform the soul. Only God can do that through the power of His Word.

That's the truth behind Psalm 19:7, which calls Scripture "the law of the Lord," thus emphasizing its didactic nature. It is the sum of God's instruction to man, whether for creed (what we believe), character (what we are), or conduct (what we do).

The law of the Lord is "perfect." That represents a common Hebrew word that speaks of wholeness, completeness, or sufficiency. Commentator Albert Barnes wrote that Scripture "lacks nothing [for] its completeness; nothing in order that it might be what it should be. It is complete as a revelation of Divine truth; it is complete as a rule of conduct. . . . It is absolutely true; it is adapted with consummate wisdom to the [needs] of man; it is an unerring guide of conduct. There is nothing there which would lead men into error or sin; there is nothing essential for man to know which may not be found there" (Notes on the Old Testament: Psalms, Vol. 1 [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1974], p. 171).

Man's reasoning is imperfect, but God's Word is perfect, containing everything necessary for your spiritual life. It is so comprehensive that it can restore your soul. That is, convert, revive, refresh, and transform every aspect of your being to make you precisely the person God wants you to be.

Don't look to impotent human alternatives when God's Word stands ready to minister to your every need. Spiritual warfare is fought with spiritual weapons, not fleshly techniques, theories, or therapies (2 Cor. 10:4).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to keep you focused on His counsel regarding every situation you face today.

For Further Study

Memorize 2 Corinthians 9:8 as a reminder of God's super- abounding grace to you.

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.

October 18

Liberty or License?

“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?” (Romans 6:15-16).

Freedom from sin does not mean freedom to sin.

From Paul’s day until now, the gospel of grace has been accused of providing license to sin. If salvation is the gift of God’s grace, legalists argue, wholly apart from human works, what will motivate people to lead holy lives? In the face of such opposition, Paul never gave an inch on the vital issue of salvation by grace—and neither can we. The Bible teaches a salvation that is entirely by God’s free grace through faith and in which human works play no part.

But there is a second way in which the doctrine of salvation by grace may be perverted. Fulfilling the legalists’ fears, some believe that since God’s grace covers all their sins, they can live as they choose. In today’s passage Paul addresses that error.

The very thought of a Christian living in persistent, habitual sin horrified Paul. To the hypothetical question “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” Paul responded emphatically, “May it never be!” As in verse 2, the apostle used the strongest form of negation in the Greek language. In our English vernacular, Paul was saying “Ridiculous! Impossible! No way!” He went on to point out the self-evident truth that no one can serve two masters. Everyone is either a servant of sin or a servant of God; there is no third option. And the one to whom people habitually yield their obedience is their real master, no matter what they may claim.

Don’t be deceived by those who claim that since Christians are forgiven, they can therefore sin at will. Such people know nothing of God’s grace, which, far from giving us license to sin, “instruct[s] us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His grace, which is always greater than your sin (Rom. 5:20).

For Further Study

Read Joshua 24:14-27; Matthew 4:8-11; and 1 Thessalonians 1:8-9. Spend some time in prayer, asking God to help you renew your commitment to serve Him.

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.

October 18

Reading for Today:

  • Jeremiah 21:1–22:30
  • Psalm 119:9-16
  • Proverbs 27:14
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

Notes:

Jeremiah 22:18, 19 Jehoiakim. Ruling from 609 to 598 B.C., he was also wicked in taxing the people (2 Kin.23:35) and making them build his splendid palace without pay, violating God’s law in Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14, 15. He was slain in Babylon’s second siege and his corpse dishonored, being left like a dead donkey on the ground for scavengers to feed on.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 recognize. This does not mean simple face recognition, but that the people are to know their pastors well enough to have an intimate appreciation for them and to respect them because of their value. The work of pastors is summarized in a 3-fold description which includes: 1) laboring, working to the point of exhaustion; 2) overseeing, literally standing before the flock to lead them in the way of righteousness; and 3) admonishing, instructing in the truths of God’s Word.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 quench. The fire of God’s Spirit is not to be doused with sin. Believers are also instructed to not grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) but to be controlled by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18) and to walk by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16).

1 Thessalonians 5:23 God…sanctify you. Only God (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; Phil. 4:9; Heb. 13:20) “Himself” can separate us from sin to holiness “completely.” whole spirit, soul, and body. This comprehensive reference makes the term “completely” more emphatic. By using spirit and soul, Paul was not indicating that the immaterial part of man could be divided into two substances (Heb. 4:12). The two words are used interchangeably throughout Scripture (Heb. 6:19; 10:39; 1 Pet. 2:11; 2 Pet. 2:8).


DAY 18: When Paul refers to the “Day of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, what does he mean?

There are 19 indisputable uses of “the Day of the Lord” in the Old Testament and 4 in the New Testament (Acts 2:20; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). The Old Testament prophets used “Day of the Lord” to describe near historical judgments (Is. 13:6–22; Ezek. 30:2–19; Joel 1:15; 3:14; Amos 5:18–20; Zeph. 1:14–18) or far eschatological divine judgments (Joel 2:30–32; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:1, 5). Six times it is referred to as the “day of doom” and 4 times as the “day of vengeance.” The New Testament calls it a day of “wrath,” a day of “visitation,” and the “Great Day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14). These are terrifying judgments from God (Joel 2:30, 31; 2 Thess. 1:7–10) for the overwhelming sinfulness of the world.

The future “Day of the Lord” which unleashes God’s wrath falls into two parts: 1) the end of the 7-year tribulation period (Rev. 19:11–21), and 2) the end of the Millennium. These two are actually 1,000 years apart, and Peter refers to the end of the 1,000-year period in connection with the final “Day of the Lord” (2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 20:7–15). Here, Paul refers to that aspect of the “Day of the Lord,” which concludes the Tribulation period. When Paul uses the phrase “a thief in the night,” it is never used to refer to the Rapture of the church. It is used of Christ’s coming in judgment on the Day of the Lord at the end of the 7-year Tribulation which is distinct from the Rapture of the church, and it is used of the judgment which concludes the Millennium (2 Pet. 3:10). As a thief comes unexpectedly and without warning, so will the Day of the Lord come in both its final phases.

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.

October 18 - Jesus’ Deity in His Power and Sovereignty

“‘For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes’” (John 5:21).

By asserting His equality with God, Jesus claimed that He had the parallel power with God to raise the dead—“just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life.” The Bible teaches that only God has the power to raise the dead (Deut. 32:39; Acts 26:8; Heb. 11:19), and the Old Testament records several instances in which He did so (1 Kings 17:17–24; 2 Kings 4:32–37; 13:20–21). Because His power is the same as the Father, Jesus Christ is able to raise the physically dead (John 11:25–44). Moreover, He has the power to give spiritual life to the spiritually dead. “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him,” Jesus promised, “shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Unlike Elijah and Elisha, Jesus did not merely act as God’s representative when He raised the dead, but as God Himself. “The Son” Himself gives resurrection and spiritual “life to whom He wishes.” As God is the source of life, so Jesus Christ is the source of life. As God chooses when He gives life, so does the Son choose, in perfect agreement with the Father—a truth illustrated by the salvation of sinners. All whom the Father chose before the foundation of the world to give to the Son will come to him, and He will not reject any of them (John 6:37).

Ask Yourself

Is there anything you’ve given up for dead in your own life, barely considering that God could raise it to life again? Even the possibility of victory over sin or the presence of Christian joy can be regarded as hopeless—lost relics from the past. Pray that Jesus would help you experience life anew.

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.

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz, www.portavoz.com
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