Saturday, February 28, 2015

Not Our Effort, But His

When some people hear about the New Covenant and the grace of God, they respond: "Observance and obedience to God's word does not mean you won't backslide or make mistakes, but does that mean don't put forth any effort all?"

 We cannot put forth any effort in the first place! We are dead in need of life! Let us consider not just the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus 20:

 24An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon." (Exodus 20: 24-26)

Why an altar? for the sacrifice of animals to take on the death we all deserve because we cannot keep God's law. The law was a mirror to show us our sin and death.  Once we receive the Savior and His Salvation, we do not go back to keeping the law, but let the Redeemer keep us. Under the New Covenant, there is now a new obedience, one of faith in Christ:

"26Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6: 26-29)

With the grace of God, not only are men no longer empowered to sin, but now grow in grace and allow His life to flow in them:

 "1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)

We leave a life of works and efforts in our flesh, which produce nothing, to entering the rest of God through His Son Jesus, in which He produces life in us, and we bear fruit:

"1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15: 5)

This life is not something that we produce through our efforts, but through His!

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