VIDEO The Reign of Grace

For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

There are 43 sovereign states in the world still headed by a king or queen. Thirteen are in Asia, eleven in Europe, six in Oceania, three in Africa, and ten in North America (such as Canada, the Bahamas, Barbados, and other countries still part of the Commonwealth Realms).

But wait! Let’s add two more monarchs to the list—death, and the disciple of Jesus.

According to Romans 5:17, death reigns on all who are born of Adam. But through Christ, we can dethrone death and we ourselves can reign in life. Those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Are you reigning in life today? There’s no reason to be defeated. We have victory through Christ, and when He is on the throne of our heart, we reign in life through Him.

The Lord wants us to grow in the magnificent blessing of living victoriously through Him. Bob Hoekstra


A One-Man Show – Romans 5:12-21 – Skip Heitzig

Safely Ashore

Peace, be still! Mark 4:39 nkjv

In Papua New Guinea, the Kandas tribe awaited with excitement the arrival of New Testament Bibles printed in their language. To reach the village, however, the people bringing the books had to travel on the ocean in small boats.

What gave them courage to travel across great waters? Their seafaring skills, yes. But they also knew who created the seas. He’s the One who guides each of us across our life’s churning waves and deepest waters.

As David wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit?” (Psalm 139:7). “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; . . . if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (vv. 8–10).

These words would resonate deeply with the Kandas, who live on an island nation whose tropical coasts, dense rainforests, and rugged mountains have been called “The Last Unknown.” Yet as believers there and everywhere know, no place or problem is too remote for God. “Even the darkness will not be dark to you,” says Psalm 139:12, and “the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

On stormy waters, therefore, our God speaks, “Peace, be still!” and the waves and wind obey (Mark 4:39 nkjv). So, don’t fear life’s deep or turbulent waters today. Our God safely leads us ashore.

By:  Patricia Raybon

Reflect & Pray

What tempts you not to trust God? What do you need to trust Him with today?

Dear heavenly Father, You rule life’s winds and waves, and I thank You for guiding me safely to shore.

Read Navigating the Storms of Life at DiscoverySeries.org/HP061.

Getting the Gospel Right

Galatians 1:1-9

Have you ever been given the wrong directions and gotten frustrated? It causes confusion and often makes you late to your final destination. But those consequences aren’t nearly as devastating as the results of wrong instructions regarding salvation.

We know there are false teachers and religions that claim ways to earn God’s acceptance, but even well-meaning Christians, in their compassion for the lost, at times present an incomplete gospel. This can happen if believers lose sight of the main goal and simply try to help an individual overcome problems. But lost people don’t need fixing; they need life because they’re spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1).

Scripture is clear about how we’re to be saved: When we trust in the Savior’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf, we don’t simply add Jesus to our life—a new nature replaces the old sinful one, and we become a brand-new creation. Jesus completely exchanges His life for our deadness.

Let’s not forget the fact that unbelievers’ spirits are dead, and they can’t do anything to bring themselves to life. Salvation is the only way, and regeneration happens solely by God’s grace through faith in Christ. May the Lord guide us to present the whole truth to those who need it.

The Spiritual Rock

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4)

One of the most amazing miracles recorded in the Bible occurred when Moses smote the rock on Mount Horeb and water came forth sufficient to satisfy all the multitude there in the wilderness (Exodus 17:6). In describing this great event, the psalmist later sang: “He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers” (Psalm 78:15-16).

In our text above, Paul indicates that the miracle had great symbolic significance as well. “That Rock was Christ.” The Greek word used here for “rock” is petra, the same word used by Christ when He said that “upon this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Christ is the one foundation upon which the church is built (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is also symbolized by the “living water,” the “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:10, 14).

The actual rock from which the waters burst forth in the wilderness did not literally “follow them,” of course, but “that spiritual Rock” did follow them, for Christ was there with them through all their years of wandering.

The literal water followed them too, keeping them alive for 40 years. When Moses struck the rock, God opened a mighty spring “out of the great depths” (Psalm 78:15), evidently tapping a deep pressurized aquifer from which waters emerged to form “streams also out of the rock” (v. 16). These streams flowed continually in the desert for 40 years, so the children of Israel could march and camp beside them as long as they were in the wilderness. Christ still today is our spiritual Rock, continually yielding the spiritual waters of everlasting life. HMM

“Give Ye Them to Eat”

Matthew 14:13-21

THREE Gospels (Matt. 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9) chronicle the death of John the Baptist. The rugged old prophet had condemned Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife. The king admired the sturdy prophet, “knowing that he was a just man and a holy,” but he kept him in prison. A big banquet, a hilarious time and a dancing girl brought on plenty of trouble. Herod lost his head and John literally lost his, and many have lost their heads before and since that time because of a dancing girl. Having made a foolish vow, Herod must be a “good sport” and keep it. The world’s code of principles is all awry; he had better broken the oath than add one sin to another. So the head of John the Baptist lies on the charger.

The sturdy old forerunner lived a hard life that few could have endured. Without family, having his home the wilderness, he denounced in blazing terms the evils of his day. Kings and princes did not intimidate him, and he paid for his devotion to truth with his life. What a rebuke to those who fancy the spiritual life to be a soft, white-collared pursuit!

The feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matt. 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-46; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15). There is no explaining it away, as some would do by making Christ’s example an appeal to the generosity of the people who brought their food together and distributed it. Here our Lord is again Master of nature, and this time He meets the age-old problem “What shall we eat?” The lad gave such as he had—the best he had, all he had—and little became much, as is always the case when the Lord takes it over. He can do wonders with the smallest gifts fully surrendered.

John gives a different slant. Jesus asked Philip, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?”—did it in order to test him, for “He Himself knew what He would do.” Sometimes the Lord brings us to a crisis and seems to ask us, “Well, what are you going to do now?” and the situation looks hopeless. But remember that however impossible the case looks to you, He always knows what to do. If you will yield to His will, He will work the wonder. Philip saw only the natural circumstances, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient.” When God would use us to feed others, let us not look at bare facts. Andrew mentioned the boy’s loaves and fishes, but added, “What are they among so many?” In the presence of the world’s need, your gifts, talents, abilities may appear pitiful, but if you surrender them to Him, He can feed the multitudes.

Notice that there was a surplus of twelve baskets full. God does nothing niggardly, parsimoniously. There is always overflowing abundance of blessing. So tremendous was the impression of this miracle that the crowd was about to make Jesus king by force. Ah, it was because they thought He could furnish them bread and not for the Bread of Life that they would crown Him! Men ever desire a kingdom of outward prosperity, but His kingdom is not of this world.

Safe and Sealed

He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed.—John 5:20

In Ephesians 1:13, we see that those who “heard” and “believed” were “sealed”: “When you heard the message … you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Does the “sealing” take place at conversion or at some point beyond it? I believe it takes place at conversion. A seal is a mark of ownership, and when the Holy Spirit comes in to regenerate our beings at conversion, He produces the assurance in our hearts that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.

I know that some believe that the “sealing” takes place subsequent to conversion, such as at one’s baptism by total immersion, or at a crisis point of sanctification, or, as some would describe it, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. But how insecure life would be if we had to wait for “this” or “that” experience in order to know that we are safe in Christ.

One historian says that it was customary in Ephesus for certain traders to send their slaves into the marketplace to make purchases for them and, once the transaction was complete, the slaves would mark the item with their master’s seal, whereupon it was delivered to the master’s home. In something of the same way, the Holy Spirit in our own hearts seals, once and for all, the question of His ownership over our lives, and also acts as a pledge, or guarantee, that one day we will be safely delivered to our Father’s home in glory. In Wales, many years ago, I heard a frail old Christian say: “The envelope (meaning his body) may be a bit tattered, but the letter inside is quite safe.” It is!

Prayer

O Father, what endless blessings follow the coming of Your Spirit into my life. I am saved by grace, sealed by the Spirit, and supported by eternal love. What more could I ask for this side of glory! Amen.

Further Study

Jn 5; Rm 8:16; Gl 4:6; 1Jn 4:13

How does the Holy Spirit “bear witness”?

What confidence does this give us?

God’s Sixfold “I Will”

Psalm 91:14-16

The summit experience of the blessing promised in the last three verses of the 91st Psalm are exciting. The crescendo note reverberates when the Almighty declares: I will… I will… I will.

Because he loves Me, says the Lord,

I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.

He will call upon Me,

and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him

and show him My salvation.

This auxiliary verb is used no less than six times, introducing a total of eight action verbs and sung in a majestic major key. It is as though, having reviewed the onslaught of Satan and the injustices of men, God becomes actively involved with His saint.

By this positive set of declarations God ensures He will ultimately bring into being His plan for that individual who has sought to live for His honor and glory. The purpose of God is that our whole nature be brought under His reign. The full application of God’s ultimate will is reserved only for those who have reached, by constant devotion and dedication, “the secret place.” This involves a perfect union of the will of man with the will of God.

We tend to confuse the work of God with the will of God. There is such a thing as “the barrenness of busyness.”

The ultimate will of God is to be realized only if, with the Psalmist, we earnestly affirm, “I will say of the Lord, He is… my God” (v. 2). It has been said,

“He must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.” This does not come easy for most of us unless we have been refined in God’s crucible. Our obedience and response to the will of God is often very slow. God’s plan is to recreate man in His own image and thereby reveal His glory through our life and service.

Let us be surrendered to the will of God so as to be among those who know the rich blessings of this Psalm.

Edward Deratany, Refuge in the Secret Place