Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grace and Obedience Part 6

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

If we do not feel delight for obedience to God, and if the thoughts of our brain often seem to be contrary to His will, is it hypocritical to affirm that we "delight in the law of God after the inward man?" Are we merely trying to convince ourselves of something that is not actually true, and thus deceiving ourselves?

Perhaps the best answer is to raise other questions. Is God, as the Apostle Paul unconditionally declared, working "in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure?" (Philippians 2:13). Does the Holy Spirit who indwells believers merely sit on the throne of our hearts? Or is He so dynamically active that "the power that worketh in us" is "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think?" (Ephesians 3:20). The Biblical answer is that He is that active, and we must bow unto our Lord and His truth regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

Certainly we would all acknowledge much conflicting emotion, thought, appearance, and at times, behavior and actions. Our natural bodies, while belonging to God, are nevertheless composed of earthly substance (originally, of the very dust of the ground). We are therefore subject to the fleshly and devilish stimulations of the world, and will feel their pull in various ways throughout our earthly lives. Paul referred to a "law of sin in our members," and while the controlling power of this law is nullified when we believe in Christ, it is not obliterated (I Corinthians 15:56). Therefore, if we do not know the truth of how profoundly changed we are in our spirits inhabited by the Holy Spirit, or if we choose to disbelieve, we will not consistently experience the truth of Whose we are, and who we are. "Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).

The Holy Spirit is not sitting in believers. He is walking (II Corinthians 6:16). He is working (Colossians 1:29). He is generating desire in our innermost being to the degree of literal delight (Romans 7:22). As an expression of faith, therefore, we must believe, speak, and act upon the truth that the joy of our hearts is the glory and will of God. Certainly we have not always acted accordingly since we believed. We have not always thought, spoken, or felt delight. We have not walked as children of light even though we are children of light. However, nothing changes the fact of the Holy Spirit's presence within us, or of His working in us to will of God's good pleasure. It is therefore not hypocrisy to affirm delight for His will. It is faith, faith in the written Word of God, and in the living Word revealed in us by the dynamic Spirit of God.

Grace received and applied is the source of all obedience in the life of born again believers. "By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Corinthians 15:10). Delight for the will of God is the spiritual constitution and atmosphere of the believer's Christ-inhabited heart. This is truth. This is reality. This is the fact of Whose we are, and who we are. To the degree we believe and submit ourselves in confidence to the One who has made such Truth true will be the degree to which we experience and express the grace of being a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).

"Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
(Hebrews 12:28)

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