Sunday, April 24, 2011

All of God by Dudley Hall

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV)

After we have finally concluded that Jesus has acted for us in securing our salvation from the penalty of sin, we often try to appropriate the resulting peace through our own efforts to believe and/or behave.

Just as God acted on behalf of Jesus when he was dead, he has acted on our behalf to work in us that which we have no ability to do. How much did Jesus initiate his resurrection? It was not his actions that precipitated the great miracle. It was the love of the Father that raised him. Jesus is the benefactor of God's action on his behalf. In like manner, we are dead even to the ability to sufficiently lay hold of the promises of the new covenant.

God promises to write his law on our hearts and our minds and that we will know him intimately. God's work in our hearts is as necessary as his work on the cross or in the grave. If he doesn't change our hearts we will spend our energy trying to embrace the promises of the new covenant just like the Old Testament people found themselves worn out trying to qualify for those promises.

It is God's desire to have a relationship with us based on trust. His goal is our hearts. It was the heart-issue that made the first covenant incapable of making us righteous. The New Covenant addresses that weakness. The blessing it promises is that God will do whatever necessary to place the proper fear, trust and love in our hearts. We can only trust him to do that. Our faith is not measured by feelings of strength or circumstantial evidence. It is the place of quiet desperation where we breathe a sigh of faith. "Lord, do in me what you promised. I cannot muster enough faith to merit your grace. I can only trust that your promise is true."

The same God who led Jesus from death will perform in us to cause us to love and trust him. He is faithful, and his covenant is in effect.

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