- Jer 5:18 Even in those days, declares the Lord, I will not make a full end of you.
- Jer 5:22-23 Do you not fear me? Declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannon prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord…” They know no bounds in deeds of evil (V28) Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord (v29)
- Acts 20:23-23 The Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
- Acts 20:27 Therefore I testify to you this day that.. I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
What a contrast between Paul’s attitude, “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself” Acts 20:24 and the attitude of God’s people to whom Jeremiah was speaking, “This people has a stubborn and rebellious heart.”Jer 5:23 Even though God bent over backwards to singled them out and to provide for them, they still turned their backs on him and pursued their own desires rather than giving their lives to God.
Paul is a great example of how we should live. His focus was completely on the “ministry” God had given him to do. God was the treasure of His heart, and everything else was worthless compared to that.
So, how do we come to living like Paul was, and not like the people of Israel? I have been reading a book with my son Caleb titled, “Because He Loves Me,” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. The chapter this week (chapter 7) was talking God’s Indicative statements (what has already been indicated or declared about you) and God’s Imperative statements (a command or direction). There is a beautiful balance with these statements, particularly throughout the epistles, This verses not only tell us what to do, but also plants within our souls the only motive that will empower God-pleasing compliance: what God has already done. Our obedience has its origin in God’s prior action, and forgetting that truth results in self-righteousness, pride, or despair.
The wonderful pronouncements God has made about us cannot and must not be disconnected from the wonderful expectations he has of us. Here’s a couple examples:
- Eph 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Can you see how the imperative, “Be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving,” is firmly anchored in the indicative, “you’re forgiven in Christ”
- Phil 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. The imperative, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” is framed by and anchored to the indicative, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
- Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”. The grace of God trains us to renounce ungodliness, live temperate, godly lives, and be zealous for good works. Yes, God is sovereign over our sanctification, but recognition of that truth doesn’t excuse us from zealously pursuing it.
There are many more examples of this throughout those passages where God gives commands (imperatives). They are always tied together with God’s indicatives.
Elyse said, “Progressive sanctification, that slow process of change into Christlikeness, means, in its simplest form, that what we’ve already been made to be in Christ (our justification), we are growing to be in our practice (our sanctification).
“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Our outer nature is really and truly rotting away, but there is another more significant truth that we must grasp by faith: We are being changed; our inner person is being renewed. This new life within us, this new nature, this powerful seed, will ripen into a transformed person that accurately reflects his image (Rom. 8:30). How can we be sure that this will happen? Because the resurrected Christ guarantees it! He has gone before us as the first fruits of a harvest that he is presenting to the Lord of the Harvest. “Christ became what we are and then made himself the first fruits of all that we will become.”13
It is impossible that we should have his life dwelling within us and have no sign of life change. This change may be minuscule, indeed, but this seed will always produce fruit.
- I pray you will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord
- May you be motivated by God’s indicatives
- May you not take your salvation for granted, but may it motivate you to live as Paul did, “not accounting my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord.”