“Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
We continue to study the characteristics of those people who belong to the kingdom, one of which is their spiritual mourning, because they are a people whose hearts have been broken by a recognition of their sinfulness before God and have therefore become contrite (humble, repentant). It is comforting to know that God takes account of our tears (Psalm 56:8).
WHO ARE THESE WHO MOURN?
They are those who sorrow over their sins and who suffer for Jesus’ sake. For now, we take up only the first one.
A) They realize how much they’ve grieved God by their sins (Psalm 51:4).
B) They feel the pain they’ve inflicted upon themselves (and others) as a result of their sins (Psalm 32:3-4; Jeremiah 2:19).
C) They also weep tears of conviction because of God’s love for them in Christ in spite of their sins. It was my sins that nailed Christ to the cross and I grieve at the sight of him on the cross, but at the same time I rejoice that he loves me so much so as to die for the forgiveness of my sins (Zechariah 12:10; Romans 5:8).
HOW ARE THEY COMFORTED?
They are comforted by a sense of God’s grace and forgiveness (Psalm 30:5, 11; Psalm 32:1, 5; Luke 15:7, 10).
PRAYER: Lord, we are sorry for our many sins. Thank you for your forgiveness which you’ve given us in Christ Jesus. In him we have the comfort of complete pardon and eternal life. Amen.
(These are essentially the notes I wrote in preparation for a bible study I did on Romans 8:28-31.)
Perseverance of the Saints is to be preferred over the term eternal security because the former includes the latter without doing away with the reality that the saints do persevere and will persevere. The saints persevere because the Lord preserves them, and the Lord preserves them in and through their perseverance.
A digression is in order at this point in order to see the connection between perseverance and the broader salvation of which it is part. It is necessary that we adopt a cosmic perspective on salvation: we must see it as something that spans the whole of eternity. We must realize that it is so much bigger than we are and involves divine determinations and incontrovertible exercises of divine power that make the possibility of losing one’s salvation simply unthinkable. Without this cosmic perspective, i.e., if we confine our limited, finite, and puny minds only to the consideration of earthly things, wherein we find so much human weakness, frailty, and sin, we cannot help entertaining the possibility that salvation might be lost. The solution is to enter, as much as is granted to us, into the vastness of the divine mind and see salvation as the great and glorious thing that it is, determined by God in eternity past, executed by him in time, and now awaiting certain completion when Christ returns, the results of which will last throughout eternity. All throughout, our salvation is upheld by Almighty God who watches over it from beginning to end to ensure that “not a single hair of our head will perish.” It is for this reason that in verse 31 Paul makes the triumphant statement, “If God is for us, who can be against us!”
(Basis of devotional given to the Men’s Group of Ikthus East, Bacolod City; August 17, 2019)
1 John 3:1-3 ESV
 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
(This is the manuscript basis of the devotional I gave to the Ikthus East-Bacolod City Men’s group last 02 February 2019. It is part of a series of Bible studies we’re doing on 1st John.)
1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life— is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
The Christian life is a battle for our affections. Who will our hearts love: God or the world?