Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grace and Obedience Conclusion

"His commandments are not grievous" (I John 5:3)

God's will would be grievous (burdensome) if He had not sent His Spirit to dwell within us when we believed, and if this indwelling had not birthed us as a "new creature" who "delights in the law of God" (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:22).

God's will can also be burdensome if we do not know that such blessed truth is in fact true. The desires of our flesh often tell us that what we want are those things contrary to God's will. Such desires are real in us, but they must must recognized for what they are. They are the desires of the flesh, as opposed to the delight for the glory and will of God that resides in our innermost being. "I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind... so then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin" (Romans 7:22; 25).

It is vital that we understand and affirm the delight for godliness that exists within our Christ-inhabited spiritual selfhood. Grace has given such holy inclination to us as a free gift. It also perpetuates the delight by the Holy Spirit who"worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). Because this desire is deep within us, we may not always feel or perceive it in the way we feel and perceive the desires of our flesh. Of these contrary yearnings, the Apostle Paul wrote, "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind" (Romans 7:23). Conversely, we do not always "see" our delight for godliness. "We walk by faith, not by sight," and our love for God's will often has to be affirmed when the only evidence for it is the authority of the "It is written" of Scripture (II Corinthians 5:7).

I genuinely love writing these devotionals, and 259 mornings a year, I consciously and emotionally look forward to the experience. On that one morning of just about every year when such anticipation is absent, however, I must remember and affirm no less my delight for this aspect of God's will in my life. My feelings and the thoughts coursing through my brain are not the issue. The issue is truth and reality. If the Bible declares that God is working in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure, and if it is the delight of my innermost being to do His will, I must walk by faith and not by sight. This is true of every aspect of God's will in our lives, and to the degree we believe the Word of God concerning our Christ-wrought desire to obey will be the degree to which we consistently experience its power.

The grace of the Lord Jesus has freely constituted and instituted literal delight for obedience in us. The word "obedience" should therefore make us smile and rejoice no less than the word "grace." We honor and proclaim our Lord's redeeming work on our behalf when we affirm with the Psalmist, "I delight to do Thy will, o God" (Psalm 40:8). This is not a boast about ourselves. It is praise unto the God who made such grace possible at the highest cost to Himself. And it is Truth, the truth which liberates us to walk in the Spirit even as we live in the Spirit.

"Now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light."
(Ephesians 5:8)

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