Do I have the courage to let God work or work more in my life? That is the question on my heart today. This week’s lesson from Armor of God study was all about four types of righteousness. When we believe and receive Christ, His righteousness is imputed to us but we have to accept it and allow it to be worked out in our life through sanctification. So, just what is sanctification? In this study, the working definition is “the process by which you are molded into the image of Christ.”; “the Spirit’s progressive influence on you.” (Armor of God- Priscilla Shirer)
This morning I took a look at Ezekiel 36: 24-32 as part of the lesson. I found it very interesting. As I read, it gave greater clarity on how we can understand depth of the work of Jesus Christ in both His life, death and resurrection. Through His acts we are told He took on the sin of the world and those who believe will have life and life eternal. We are told that He took our sin upon Himself and traded it for His righteousness giving us a new life in Him. Looking at this passage I made tons of notes but the most significant was looking at God’s relationship with the Israelites in this passage and what He said He would do for them. The Hebrew people were in rebellion and idolatry. They had turned from God. As always, our actions have consequences but there are always benefits for repentance and turning back to God. His promise to HIs people was that He would gather them back to their land from all the places that they’d been scattered.
Then God would: Cleanse them from their sin and rebellion
God would give them: God would remove from them:
a new heart the dirt or sin from them
His Spirit their old rebellious ways
His ways/rules their stoney heart
a soft heart
the ability to walk in His ways
the ability to obey
Basically, God was doing all the heavy lifting in this whole scenario! What was left for His people was to accept His gift and from that time walk in obedience to His ways. The only had to cooperate. Yes, it can be a little challenging or difficult to accept God’s authority and His ways and to walk in them… BUT…Did you notice that He specifically gave them His Spirit, and the ability to walk in His ways and to obey? In other words, He had already provided everything they needed for life and godliness. This is also true for those of us today who are in Christ. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence.” ESV God also told them that He was giving them a choice from early in their relationship with Him:
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 ““See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in His ways, and by keeping His commandments and His statutes and His rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.””
So from these words, we can gain understanding. We always have a choice; to cooperate or to rebel; to choose life and blessing or to choose death and curses. God in His great mercy and grace has given us everything we need for life and blessing, will we choose life? Will we receive His gifts? A gift is of no benefit if we set it aside and refuse to accept it or to open it! In order to enjoy a gift, we must accept it, open it and use it. In other words we have to cooperate with the giver of the gift to receive the blessing of the gift. In like manner, we can read the Word of God and sit under the teaching of the best of Bible teachers on the planet, but until the Word is applied in our life there is no real change in our life. The process of sanctification is stalled. We must actually apply what we learn to see the blessing it can be in our life. That is choosing life. Now the real question for me (and you if your game) is when the crossroads come and tough times or decision have to be made; will we have the courage to cooperate and let God work to sanctify us or will we rebel? We have the freedom of choice, what will it be?
May HIs grace and peace abide with you!