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Grace and willingness
- Jacob Ninan
When the old covenant was declared to the people of Israel, they promised God that they would keep all that He asked them to do (Ex.19:8). They were willing to obey God in everything, but did not know that they didn't have the ability in themselves to do it. God allowed them to try for thousands of years and discover that no one was able to keep the whole Law. God knew this already (Ps.14:3), but He waited till they saw it themselves. Then God came with the new covenant where the criterion for acceptance with God is no longer keeping the Law but faith through grace (Ep.2:8,9).
When someone repents from his sins and turns to God in faith, trusting in God's provision for his forgiveness and acceptance because Jesus has paid his ransom, God washes away all his sins with the blood of Jesus. He justifies him, just as if he had never sinned, by counting the righteousness of Jesus into his account. He adopts him as a child of God. He begins to work in him, transforming him little by little into the character of Jesus.
Will God do this for us people even if we are not interested in it? That is not in His nature to force anything on unwilling people. The picture of Jesus standing outside an uninterested church and knocking on its door (Re.3:20) is typical of His ways. The point is, how can we become more like Jesus if we are not interested in it? How can it happen if what we are really interested in is only our earthly prosperity, more comfort, promotions, sightseeing, better gadgets, etc.? Do we presume that part of grace (unmerited favour) means that God will transform us even if we are not interested in it?
God said through His prophets about the new covenant He was going to bring to His people (Je.31:33,34 Ez.36:27-29). The essence of this covenant is that He would transform our lives from the inside. But He qualified the offer by saying that He would do it only if we asked for it (Ez.36:37). This means that He wants us to long for it, ask for it and pursue after it. Now we can understand why among all the people who come to God, our fruit varies from 30 to 100 fold. Some do not even bear any fruit at all and Jesus warns us that such people are going to be thrown out (Re.3:15,16 Jn.15:2,6).
Perhaps some people are not interested in it because no one told them that this is the biggest thing God has prepared for them. Perhaps what they have heard from the so-called leaders is about how they they can multiply their income by a hundred fold by giving God a tenth of their present income, or that whatever problem they face can be solved by sending a certain amount of money to some organisation! No wonder people are starved of the truth, and they are suffering from the lack of the only thing that can set them free (Jn.8:32). Ultimately they all get disappointed.
Darkness is increasing over the earth, and confusion is reigning. Let us be the light of this world (Mt.5:14) till Jesus comes, even if our voice is small.