Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you ever noticed that the Bible spends more time talking about what God has done for the world, than telling what we must do for Him?
For example, there's John 3:16: "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Big, big gift!
But it doesn't go on giving a list of things we must now do for Him. It simply says, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish"--himself (the verb form admits the idea of we sinners perishing--ourselves, that is, going on in a process which is in one sense mass suicide, self-perishing).
After all that tremendous giving on His part, God simply asks us to appreciate what He has done, to let our hearts "behold" the grand dimensions of the love He has given us (cf. Eph. 3:18). "Look!" "Ponder." "Measure." "Consider." "Stop and think so you can appreciate to the point of broken-heartedness." All the good works possible, follow.
Then Psalm 51 comes into the picture; instead of being like the Pharisee who thanks God that he isn't as bad as "this publican," instead of thanking Him that you haven't done as badly as King David--committed adultery and murder, etc.; instead of that pride, you receive from the Holy Spirit the gift of conviction of sin, corporate sin; you realize that the sin of someone else would be your sin but for the grace of Christ. You realize at last that you are no better than King David at heart; you have no righteousness of your own.
If Jesus, the divine Son of God could be "made to be sin for us who knew no sin" (that is, as He hung on His cross, He bore the corporate guilt of all the sin of the whole world), then surely we can bear the corporate guilt of the sin of King David: we may now have a closer link with Jesus who bore the corporate guilt of us all.
And, dear friend: a closer link with Jesus means a closer link with eternal life. Don't despise the gift of corporate repentance. Esau did, and he "sold" his precious "birthright."
When the love (agape) of Christ can "constrain" us (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14, 15), then there is no end to the works of righteousness that love will constrain us to do for the Lord. But that is not motivated by a desire for reward in heaven nor is it motivated by a fear of hell: God Himself is agape, and "agape casts out fear" (1 John 4:8, 18). It's a new motivation that never ends.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 10, 2008.
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