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Devotions for Life

CHANCE OR ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY?

Text: “These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).

It is a fact that people often use misleading terminology. For example, “I’m going to church.”
Church is not something that we go to, it is something that we are. What we really mean is
that we are going to worship as did Abraham when he went to the mountain in (Genesis 22).

I know that I might be deemed, by some, as being too “picky.” But let me tell you that I, too,
sometimes use some misleading terms. For example, I tell people that my back hurts, which is
misleading since it is usually my hip joints (sacroiliac joints) that actually hurt.

Over the years I have heard people, usually in prayer, use the phrase, “Lord, we thank You for
the chance to,” . . . whatever. Usually it is in reference to salvation or going to heaven.

When I hear such terminology, the first thing that goes through my mind is “It is not by chance!” Having our sins removed and going to heaven are no more by “chance” than the universe came into existence by chance.

Chance is “a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances. It is an unknown and
unpredictable phenomenon that causes an event to result one way rather than another.” Notice,
chance is “a possibility.” It is “unpredictable.” It is, actually, “fortuitous or accidental.”

It is not by chance that we can have our sins removed. Salvation is a planned process. If the
plan is followed, there is no “chance” to it. It is an absolute certainty.

One does not go to heaven by “chance.” This, too, is something that has been well planned out.
If we follow the plan, there is no guesswork, or chance; it is a definite.

Relative to our text verse, Adam Clarke wrote, “it is not a blind reliance for, but an actual
enjoyment of, salvation; Christ living, working, and reigning in the heart.”

Friends, salvation isn’t guesswork. Neither is it by chance. If we are following God’s plan,
there is no need for doubt. His word and His plan are perfect and absolute. If we are depending
on “chance,” I suggest that we replace that notion with the absolute and perfect plan of God.

Hymn: “I Know God’s Promise Is True”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your understandable, unchanging, and perfect
plan. We are thankful that we can have complete reliance in the plan that you have set
before us. May we have the courage and faith to accept it without doubt. In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Roy Allen Crutcher, Mount Carmel, IL
racrgc@aol.com



A Prophecy Fulfilled

Matthew 21:1-11

Read

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the
Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into the village over there,” he said.
“As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie
them and bring them to me. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’
and he will immediately let you take them.”

This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem,
‘Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s
colt.’”

The two disciples did as Jesus commanded. They brought the donkey and the colt to him and
threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.

Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches
from the trees and spread them on the road. Jesus was in the center of the procession,
and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings
on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Praise God in highest heaven!”

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)

Reflect

Matthew mentions a donkey and a colt, while the other Gospels mention only the colt. This was
the same event, but Matthew focuses on the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, where a donkey and a
colt are mentioned. He shows how Jesus’ actions fulfilled the prophet’s words, thus giving
another indication that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a
donkey’s colt, he affirmed his messianic royalty as well as his humility.

Matthew 21:8 is one of the few places where the Gospels record that Jesus’ glory is recognized
on earth. Jesus boldly declared himself King, and the crowd gladly joined him. But these same
people would bow to political pressure and desert him in just a few days. Today we celebrate
this event on Palm Sunday. That day can remind us to guard against superficial acclaim for
Christ.

Respond

Jesus’ humility in riding a donkey colt showed that he came not as a brash, conquering warrior,
but as the Messiah willing to die to bring about peace and restoration with God. In what ways
has he brought peace to your life?



A Willing Sacrifice

John 12:20-36

Read

Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the
truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death
will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants
to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will
honor anyone who serves me.”

“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is
the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”

Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will
do so again.” (John 12:23-28)

Reflect

This passage is a beautiful picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a kernel of
wheat is buried in the ground, it will not become a blade of wheat producing many more seeds.
Jesus knew his crucifixion lay ahead and, because he was human, he dreaded it. He knew he
would have to take the sins of the world on himself, and that this would separate him from
his Father. He wanted to be delivered from this horrible death, but he knew that God sent
him into the world to die for our sins, in our place. Jesus said no to his human desires
in order to obey his Father and glorify him.

Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for our sin, but also to show his power over death. His
resurrection proves he has eternal life. Because Jesus is God, Jesus can give this same
eternal life to all who believe in him.

Respond

Jesus died, once for all (1 Peter 3:18). In honor of his sacrifice, the apostle Paul writes,
“I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them
be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to
worship him” (Romans 12:1). How do you show that you’re a living sacrifice? What would you
say to someone who questions the appeal of this type of lifestyle?