Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Grace... Obedience"

"Grace… Obedience"

     God's earthly nation Israel related to Him under a contingency covenant of "if-then" that they did not fulfill.

    "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6).

    In other words, "If you obey Me, then you shall be My people".  God's covenant of grace and truth in the Lord Jesus Christ, conversely, offers a different relationship based upon freely given blessedness in our Savior.

   "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name… If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.  Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new… We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (John 1:12; II Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10).

    Or, "If you become My people, then I will empower you by My grace to obey Me."  Note the different order and sequence.  Under law, obedience leads to relationship.  Under grace, relationship leads to obedience.  Israel failed miserably in her attempt to approach God by her own efforts.  Thus, the law became " a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ" (Galatians 3:24).  In Him, God rebirths and reconstitutes our inner being by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit - "a new creature".  We become His sons and daughters in relationship with Him.  We then become His personal venue of dynamic involvement as we avail ourselves of the obedience-enabling life provided by the grace of the Lord Jesus - "I will dwell in them and walk in them" (II Corinthians 6:16).  As we often reference, the writer of Hebrews perfectly expresses the Divine sequence of life in Christ.  First, he bids, "Let us have grace."  Then he affirms the holy result, "that we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28).  This is the order of God's salvation in the Lord Jesus, that is, grace received empowering acceptable service, reverence, and godly fear.  We must never reverse the order in either our doctrine or practice.  Again, under grace, relationship leads to obedience.

   In Christ, we live from God in order to live for Him and to Him.  Problems with obedience always indicate a faulty sequence, as it were.  In some manner, we fail to "have grace", leading to failure to "serve God acceptably".  Thus, we seek to avail ourselves of the freely given favor and enabling provided by the indwelling Spirit of the Lord Jesus.  "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18).  Thereby we rejoice in the wonder of sonship and daughterhood in Christ, and thereby we consistently experience the enabling whereby we "take root downward, and bear fruit upward" (II Kings 19:30).

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
(Colossians 2:6-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
   He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(John 7:38)

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