Weekly Devotional 8-29-11 Appreciation of God’s Work
This week I again turn to the “Free Grace Broadcaster” and the writings of William Plumer. From an article He wrote concerning, “The New Birth of those who have come to trust in Jesus for their salvation.”
“The Westminster Assembly of Divines 1643—an assembly of 121 theologians appointed by the Puritan Long Parliament—teaches that God is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.
The later Confession of Helvetia—a confession of the Swiss Reformation—states that in regeneration the understanding is illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that it may understand both the mysteries and will of God. And the will itself is not only changed by the Spirit, but is also endowed with faculties, that, of its own accord, it may and will do good, and quotes in proof Romans 8:4; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:27; John 8:36; Philippians 1:6, 29; and 2:13.
The Synod of Dort—a council convened to settle the serious controversy in the Dutch churches initiated by the rise of Arminianism—says, ‘This regenerating grace of God worketh not upon men as if they were stocks and stones, nor doth it abolish the will and properties of their will, or violently constrain it, but doth spiritually revive it, heal it, rectify it, and powerfully yet gently bend it: so that where the rebellion of the flesh, and stubbornness did domineer without control, now a willing and sincere obedience to the Spirit begins to reign; in which change the true and spiritual rescue and freedom of our will doth consist.’”
Leaving now the thoughts of Mr. Plumer, the assemblies and confessions he drew from, I ask, have you come to appreciate what God has done on your behalf? If you are a truly born again person surely you understand that it was God who called you out of spiritual darkness, who regenerated you unto new spiritual life and is constantly conforming (changing) you to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. My own appreciation of these truths is increasing daily as He brings me along the spiritual path.
Those of the world, those who have not as of yet experienced God’s transforming work in their lives, cannot understand why we are growing in that appreciation, and that we do not find the things of the flesh as appetizing as they once were. Some get upset, or at least find it odd, that we abhor foul language and the taking of the Lord’s name in vain. They don’t understand why the Christian looks at things from a heavenly view rather than the world’s view. They don’t understand why the Christian looks at things from God’s perspective rather than an unregenerate perspective. But that’s who we are, we are spiritually regenerated persons, we are of God’s family, we are now not only citizens of earth, but are citizens of heaven. And, the wonderful thing is, it was and is the work of God, who cannot fail in what He sets out to do. In this case, He is conforming us to the image of His Son. That’s why we are different than we were yesterday, and praise God, we will be different tomorrow than we are today. In the new birth we have been given a new nature, a nature that seeks to glorify the Lord in all that we do rather than glorifying self.