Thursday, July 11, 2013

Not Our Works, But His Grace and Righteousness Protect Us

"1And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem." (Genesis 35:1-5)

Jacob had faced one difficulty after another. He had since made up with his brother, Esau, yet his two older sons, Simeon and Levi, destroyed an entire city because one of the city leaders had raped their sister. Jacob feared the worst, yet instead of trying to protect himself, he trust Himself, the Lord, to watch over hi,m.

First, he told his family to put away their strange gods, to stop trusting in their own efforts, since pagan worship was all about what man could do to move God.

Next, he told them to "be clean" -- He did not tell them to "get clean." In effect, we are clean when we stop trusting in our own efforts and rest in the Finished Work of Jesus Christ, who has died once for all.

Last, Jacob told everyone to change their garments. Because Jesus became sin, we now receive His righteousness, the robe prophesied by Isaiah (61:10). In Christ, we are clothed with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:54)

Jacob took all the old gods and buried them at Shechem, which means "shoulder" because wants us to cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5: 6-7), not just neglect them altogether.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9: 6)

When Jacob and his family did all of these things, the heathen peoples around them left them alone:

"And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob." (Genesis 35: 5)

Give up your own efforts, rest in His grace, the forgiveness of all your sins, receive His righteousness, and you will reign in life (Romans 5: 17) over all your enemies.

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