Evening Reading for September 21

John 17:6-9
Suggested further reading: Revelation 7:1-8

Believers are `given' to Christ by the Father, according to an everlasting covenant made and sealed long before they were born, and taken out from the world by the calling of the Spirit in due time. They are the Father's peculiar property, as well as the property of the Son. They were of the world and nowise better than others. Their calling and election out of the world to be Christ's people, and not any foreseen merit of their own, is the real foundation of their character.

These are deep things, things to be read with peculiar reverence, because they are the words of the Son addressed to the Father and handling matter about believers which the eternal Trinity alone can handle with positiveness and certainty. Who those are who are given to Christ by the Father we can only certainly know by outward evidences. But that all believers are so given by the Father, predestined, elect, chosen, called by an everlasting covenant and their names and exact number known from all eternity, is truth which we must reverently believe and never hesitate to receive. So long as we are on earth, we have to do with invitations, promises, commands, evidences and faith, and God's election never destroys our responsibility. But all true believers, who really repent and believe and have the Spirit, may fairly take comfort in the thought that they were known and cared for and given to Christ by an eternal covenant, long before they knew Christ or cared for him. It is an unspeakable comfort to remember that Christ cares for that which the Father had given him.

Our Lord continues the description of his disciples and names things about them which may be seen by men as well as God. He says, `They have kept, or observed, or attended to, the word of the gospel, which thou didst send them by me. While others would not attend to or keep that word, these eleven men had hearing ears and attentive hearts and diligently obeyed thy message.' Practical obedience is the first great test of genuine discipleship.

For meditation: `For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son … those he justified, he also glorified' (Rom. 8:29-30).

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ