23 Trinity – Friday
Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity
– Friday –
In the Lord’s vast domain, which extends over all, there are such as are blessed of Him, and such as are cursed of Him. They that are “blessed of Him” are those whom, from eternity already, impelled solely by His grace for Christ’s sake, the Lord has chosen and predestinated to everlasting life, those whom He purposed to bringing to saving faith by the Gospel, those whom in time He made partakers of His grace through faith, those whom He sanctified to live and walk according to His Word as His blessed children, and those whom He promises to keep in the true and saving faith even unto the end (Ephesians 1:3-14; Romans 8:29-30). All this is wrought solely the grace of God in Christ and in no respect whatever is to be attributed to any work, doing, conduct, or merit of God’s blessed children themselves. —Those who are “cursed of Him” are those whom the Lord from eternity, impelled by His grace, for Christ’s sake, most earnestly desired to save (Ezekiel 33:11; I Timothy 2:4; II Peter 3:9b), redeemed by the vicarious sacrifice of His Son (I Corinthians 5:15a, 21; I John 2:2), justified on the basis of Christ’s perfect satisfaction of divine justice (II Corinthians 5:19), and whom in time He sought to make partakers, through faith, of this blessing of salvation by His Holy Spirit through His Word (I Timothy 2:4; Romans 10:18). But, according to their carnal mind (Romans 8:7), they “would not” have this blessing (Matthew 23:37), “even denying the Lord that bought them” (II Peter 2:1), and they reject in unbelief the blessed truth of God’s gracious justification (II Thessalonians 2:12). Persistent unbelievers live and walk according to their own imaginations and lusts and, without salvation, bring upon themselves swift destruction. And all this is entirely their own fault and in no respect whatever the Lord’s will or doing; nor is it because the Lord had neglected them in any way or did not sincerely desire to save them. Now, such as are “blessed of Him shall inherit the earth,” the Psalmist tells us, the temporal earth in which they live now in time and the “new earth” (Revelation 21:1) which is their inheritance in eternity. But they that be “cursed of Him shall be cut off.” God permits them to live on earth a while yet, and is longsuffering toward them in the time of grace, “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9); but whoever persists in unbelief “shall be damned,” Jesus says (Mark 16:16b); whoever continues to despise God’s grace in Christ Jesus and refuses to obey the Gospel (Romans 10:16) shall at last “be cut off;” he shall not see the new heaven and the new earth; he shall be damned, “cursed of Him” because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:19; 4:6, 11).
PRAYER – My God, I give Thee humble thanks that Thou hast from eternity chosen me in Christ Jesus to be Thine own dear child and an heir of everlasting life. Cause me to make my calling and election sure by walking in the paths of righteousness, and keep me Thine own through the power of the means of grace, that no one may pluck me out of my Savior’s hand. Into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul and all things for time and for eternity for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Hymn 414, 4-6:
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.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.
Stoning of Stephen
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