EZEKIEL 16:62-63: “I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord, so that when I make atonement for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth again because of your disgrace. This is the declaration of the Lord God.’” CSB
OBSERVATION: If you had to choose one word to define your life in Christ, what would it be? Would it be peace, joy, faith, love, life, or a list of so many other great blessings and benefits that we have received as a child of God? To the Apostle Paul there was only one word to define his life in Christ.
This word was GRACE!
- “For I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:9-10 CSB
The sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel is both a graphic and hard chapter to read. The Lord, through Ezekiel, portrays Judah’s sin in the terms of a wayward prostitute. And, worse, a prostitute that did not receive money for their sinful acts, but actually paid money to those who they committed sin with. God’s displeasure and His judgment are laid out to Judah without mincing any words.
Yet, at the end of this chapter, as in all of Scripture, we get a glimpse of the grace of God always at work. Even though Judah would be judged for her sins, the Lord would redeem her. It would not be an action that was initiated by Judah, but by God Himself.
- “I will establish my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the Lord, so that when I make atonement for all you have done, you will remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth again because of your disgrace. This is the declaration of the Lord God.”
Judah, defeated by her sin and failure, conquered and a prisoner of those whom she committed sin with, helpless and powerless, would be redeemed! It would come from God, acting on His own, based on His covenant of promise. He would make atonement for them. He would remove their sin and appease His wrath by His own action. This was a prophetic picture of God’s redemption for all mankind through Jesus Christ!
- “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,”. 1 Peter 3:18 CSB
Like Judah, each one of us were lost in sin before Jesus rescued us. We did not initiate this rescue – He did! Jesus died for our sins to make atonement with the Father. His blood cleanses us from all sin and fully satisfied the justice of God. The penalty of sin was death and Jesus paid the penalty in full, of His own volition, and as a gift of grace.
Paul never forgot this. He remembered his past – always! It was not a preoccupation with his past. Rather, it was a recognition of it. Paul remembered his roots. He never forgot them. And, it was this remembrance that kept him focused on the grace of God. If it was grace that saved him, it would be grace that sustained him.
It was God’s action in his life from start to finish!
- “Therefore, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, so now, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13 CSB
Notice the similarity to Paul’s previous statement in I Corinthians 15,
- “…On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
Paul embraced God’s grace. He remembered God’s grace. He lived by God’s grace. He never forgot that it was God’s grace that saved him from a life of spiritual blindness. It was God’s action toward him, in him, and through him!
It was grace alone!
Lord, how many times have I taken Your grace for granted? I have fallen to the temptation of believing that I am somehow responsible for my salvation and sanctification. And, yet – it is fully Your work for me and in me. I need grace today to live for You.
I humble myself before You and ask You for more grace – greater grace!
- “But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:6-10 CSB
In Jesus Name!