Friday, July 25, 2014

Glorious Liberty of the Children of God.

Recently I was watching CNN’s morning newscast when I heard co-anchor Michaela Pereira say, “When I was three months old my parents chose me to be their daughter.”  That just went all over me. She went on to remark that her adoption was obvious for she is biracial while her parents are decidedly Caucasians. I would add that she was chosen not because she looked like her parents, but simply because their love was directed toward her. (Church, seekers do not have to become like us before they can be one of us.)

This gives such wonderful expression to this verse from John’s Gospel concerning the children of God: “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” 1:13 The decision is not the warrant of the adopted child. It is the prerogative of the parent alone. “God also decided ahead of time to choose us through Christ according to his plan, which makes everything work the way he intends.” Ephesians 1:21 GOD’S WORD

Chosen - not Choice

The children of God are chosen not a result of being choice, but become choice as a result of having been chosen. Indeed the Word says, “but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,...” 1 Corinthians 1:27. And Paul goes on to say, “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,...” 1:30.

“Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8:21 What could be more compelling?  It is a debt that could never be repaid, yet one infinitely motivating.  One who has had such a revelation does not “go out and do whatever he/she wants to” nor is such a one “a puppet on a string.”  This one has truly been set free from bondage with a desire to be like the One who alone is the author and perfecter of such freedom. The desire is such that it is irrepressible for it springs forth from the well of Divine love that has no beginning or end. 

In His Grip

These know that they have been “taken hold of” (Hebrews 2:16) by God and they have no fear of Him losing His grip - thus they are free to be His obedient children. As with Paul they are motivated to lay hold of the one that has taken hold of them–thus they are compelled to press onward and upward.

Just returned from a worship service where we shared in the words of this great hymn:

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Robert Robinson - 1757

Made Alive!

We are dead in our trespasses and sins until God intervenes: “And you hath he quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins;” Ephesians 2:1  Dead is dead! It is not until we have been made alive that we are able to respond - a dead man has no capability of response. We have been made alive by the faithfulness of the Son of God–it is He who has echoed to the Father: “Of Those whom you have given me, I have not lost one.” John 18:9 

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
Charles Wesley - 1738

Quickening Gaze

Can the quickening gaze of our Sovereign God fail?  Decidedly not! Once He begins His work, He continues inexorably, immutably, unabatedly until His full singular purpose is accomplished in us as individuals and collectively as His Church–conformity into the image of His Son. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” Colossians 1:13 

Christ in His earthly ministry could only do what He saw His Father doing. Our rebirth is on the same basis - alone. ‘Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"’ Galatians 4:6 The Father knows those whom He has chosen in His Son before the foundation of the earth and He sends His Holy Spirit into them. Here it is the Spirit that cries out “Abba! Father!” In the parallel Romans account of this verse it is we that cry out “Abba! Father!” and here the Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of adoption” or “the Spirit of sonship.” The divine initiative does not create slaves, robots, automatons or puppets - but children: “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again,...” Romans 8:15 

Set Free

It is only by the Holy Spirt that we are able to confess Jesus as Lord: ‘and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.’ And there is no salvation outside of this confession: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  There is no freedom to make this confession - and it is in freedom that we make it - until we are set free in the Son: “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:35-36 

Glorious Liberty

It is the Father who has decided to set us free into the glorious liberty of His Children. It is the revelation of these for which all of creation is longing that this might be fulfilled: "For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.” Habbakuk 2:14 

This is what the Sovereign Lord says that He will do:

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

New Heart

In other words, in the new covenant God promises that he will take the initiative and will create a new heart, so that people are made members of the new covenant by his initiative, not their own. It promises to create faith and love and obedience where before there was only hardness.1

"As true as God's own word is true;
Nor earth, nor hell, with all their crew,
Against us shall prevail.
A jest, and by-word, are they grown;
God is with us, we are his own,
Our victory cannot fail."

Why does He do this?  Here is the reason.

Soli Deo Gloria! For the Glory of God Alone!

1Piper, John (2013-11-10). Five Points (Kindle Locations 501-502). Christian Focus Publications. Kindle Edition.

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