Saturday, April 1, 2017, 10:42 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “By Your Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 57:14-19 (NASB).
Remove Obstacles (v. 14)
And it will be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”
As the Lord’s servants and messengers, we are to encourage, inspire and urge the people of God to remove every obstacle out of the way of them walking the path or running the race God has marked out for them. We are to urge them to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so they can “run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb. 12:1 NIV). Yet, we must take care that we, also, have done this.
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23). The old has gone. The new has come. We are delivered out of slavery to sin, so that we can now become bond-servants of Christ and of his righteousness. The lives we now live we no longer live to please our sinful flesh, but we now walk (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God in our lives (See: Ro. 8:1-14).
Yet, we still have the propensity to sin, and it is possible that, if we let our walks of faith slip, due to neglect, we may once again become entangled by sin. And, thus, we would need to be revived in heart and brought back to purity of relationship with Jesus Christ to where we are walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh. Thus, we need to remove from our lives all obstacles to our walks of faith and obedience to our Lord, and we must cast off any sins which have now clung to us once again, so that we may go in the direction the Lord would have us go, and to be the people of God he desires us to be.
So, in all practicality, this involves a spiritual examination of heart whereby we ask the Spirit of God to identify any areas of our lives where we are being entangled by sin once again, and that he would show us what hindrances to our walks of faith need to be removed. For example, if the sin is lust, and we are giving in to lust, if we do not first remove (cut out of our lives) what is leading us into sin, such as any pathway to that sin, like what we view on TV, movies we watch, etc., then we are likely to continue down that path of sin. So, we need to get radical about sin so we stop sinning.
Lowly of Spirit (vv. 15-16)
For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite.
“For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would grow faint before Me,
And the breath of those whom I have made.
We serve a holy God. And, he calls us to be holy, too. For us to be holy it means that we are separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. This is not saying that we leave civilization and that we go live on a deserted island to avoid all contact with the sinful world. But, it does mean that we don’t think, act, or believe like the world does. We are no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, because our Lord has transformed us in the renewing of our minds. So, we don’t feed our minds and hearts with the things, attitudes, values and behaviors of this sinful world, rather we feed our minds and hearts with the character, attitudes, actions and values of God and of his righteousness.
The forerunner of Jesus Christ was John the Baptist. He taught repentance (being contrite) for the forgiveness of sins. So did Jesus, and so did the apostles. Repentance, though meaning “a change of mind,” is almost exclusively used in scripture in the context of forsaking our lives of sin, and turning to God, putting our trust in Jesus Christ, and choosing to walk in his ways from this day forward (See: Acts 26:16-18; Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 12:1-2). Yet, we don’t do this in our own willpower or strength. Even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God, as well as we are granted repentance unto salvation. Yet, this is not forced on us. We must choose to accept God’s gift of salvation through surrender to our Lord in obedience to his Word.
When we repent of (turn from) our sins in humility before God, acknowledging our sin and our need of him to be our Savior, and we trust him to be Lord of our lives, he forgives us of our sins. The penalty of sin is removed, we are freed from our bondage to sin, and we are given new lives in Christ to be lived to his righteousness. If we slip back into sin, we don’t need to be saved (in new birth) again, but we do need to be revived in heart, so we must humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, and turn to follow our Lord in obedience once again, and to walk in his ways. And, he will give us all we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to Him.
God will Heal (vv. 17-19)
“Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him;
I hid My face and was angry,
And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.
“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,
Creating the praise of the lips.
Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord, “and I will heal him.”
Because Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden, God put a curse on humans and on the earth. When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God, and without hope. Yet, we can do nothing in our own flesh to earn or to deserve his grace; our salvation. We can never be good enough, because not one of us can keep his law perfectly. So, God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to the earth, to take on human form, and to die on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21).
When we trust in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, which is persuaded of God as to his will for our lives, we turn from our sins, and we turn to follow Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. This is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives in moving us away from sin and to God. Thus, God forgives us our sins, he restores us to a right relationship with himself, and he heals our hearts with his love and his grace. He fills our lives with his love to overflowing. Our desire now is for him and for his Word. We hunger after him and his righteousness. We want to please him in all that we do. And, we bask in the glow of our newfound relationship with him. We are now at peace with God, and in love with our Lord.
Yet, as mentioned earlier, it is possible for us to let this slip, if we are not diligent in remaining in him and in his Word daily, and in prayer, and in obedience to what he teaches us. We can fall back into sin and will need to come to repentance so that he can heal and revive our hearts. Yet, we may resist the Holy Spirit, and follow our own stubborn ways, instead, and so he may have to correct us with some divine discipline (Heb. 12:1-11) in order to get us to repent of our sin and to return to him, so he can heal us. Yet, his will is always to heal us, even though he has seen our sinful ways, and our rebellions against him. Isn’t God’s grace amazing? I am so thankful for his grace to me.
Yet his grace is never license to continue in sin, but it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). So, if you have never repented of your sin, or if you have fallen back into sin, I pray you will be brought to repentance today so that God may heal you. Amen!
By Your Grace / An Original Work / June 27, 2011
Speak Your words to my heart,
Let Your grace and love impart.
Be to me all I need
To love and serve Christ my King;
To love and serve Christ my King.
Change my heart; be like You;
Let me love and serve in truth.
Guide my steps ev’ry day,
As I bow my knees and pray;
As I bow my knees and pray.
Love You, Lord. You love me.
You died so that I’d go free
From my sin; pure within;
By Your grace I’m saved from sin;
By Your grace I’m saved from sin.
Invite You in my heart;
Now I have a brand new start.
Repented of my sin,
So that I’d be cleansed within;
So that I’d be cleansed within.
Live for You ev’ry day,
List’ning to the words you say.
Make You Lord of my heart;
Be Your witness, grace impart;
Be Your witness, grace impart.
Obey Your ev’ry word;
Do the things I’ve seen and heard.
Your word, Lord, in me burns,
While I wait for Your return;
While I wait for Your return.