Monday, May 13, 2013

Welcome Home

How our Psalmist defines “Israel”: “God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart” (Psalm 73:1).

I know my heart. Not as well as God, but I know my heart. This would be a definition excluding everyone (especially me), were it not for the message of the Gospel of a God Who gives new hearts to His people.

  • “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10).
  • “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 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 36:25-27).
  • “After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ‘Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the Word of the gospel and believe. And God, Who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are’” (Acts 15:7-11).

So, whereas once I was “separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), now I hear this promise: “ Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ...for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (2:13,18-22).

The Psalmist’s first line is, for those in Christ, a definition of absolute exclusion made possible only by the grace found by faith in Christ alone. Welcome home.

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