Sunday, December 7, 2014

Repentant or Resistant?

Josiah became King of Judah when he was only 8 years old. In the 18th year of his reign, he discovered the long-forgotten Book of the Law in the neglected temple of the Lord.

When the King heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.” (2 Kings 22:11)

Then the prophetess Huldah spoke God's words to Josiah: “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. Therefore I will gather you to your fathers, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.” (v. 19-20)

I am inspired by Josiah's repentant, humble heart and the firm, determined action that followed as he set about destroying all the idols and evil practices that were rampant in the land. I want to have a heart like his.

In Finally Alive, John Piper writes “It is morally impossible for the dead, dark, hard resistant heart to celebrate the Lordship of Jesus over his life without being born again.

Or, as Jesus says three times in John 6, no one can come to him unless the Father draws him. And when that drawing brings a person into living connection with Jesus, we call it the new birth. Verse 37: All that the Father gives me will come to me. Verse 44: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. Verse 65: No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. All of these wonderful works of drawing, granting, and giving are the work of God in regeneration. Without them we do not come to Christ, because we don't prefer to come. We so strongly prefer self-reliance that we cannot come. That is what has to be changed in the new birth. A new preference, a new ability, is given...

There are two ways to is theoretical and impersonal; the other is personal and urgent. One stands back and says: How can this be, and how can that be? The other says...God's mercy and love and grace seem desperately needed and beautiful to me today.

O God, today, I submit to your amazing grace that has brought me here and awakened me and softened me and opened me. Thanks be to God for the riches of his mercy and the greatness of his love and the power of his grace.”

What is my response to God's amazing grace?
How I respond reveals the condition of my heart.
Am I repentant or resistant?
Spiritually alive or dead?

God says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in out trespasses, made us alive with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

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