One truth that we should hold on to tightly is the teaching of Scripture that all of our salvation comes from God. We do not earn the smallest part of it. We get not one blessing by fulfilling a condition. In fact the very desire for salvation is God's gift to us, and we owe Him thanks for that. As surely as physical birth does not come to us because we asked for it, so surely being born again is due to God's desire for it and not ours.
God Himself through the psalmist states that clearly in Psalm 119:88 where we read: "Quicken me after Thy loving-kindness; so shall I keep the testimony of Thy mouth."
Notice that the psalmist, who had cruel and crafty foes that had "almost consumed" him, prays God to quicken him, so that he may remain faithful to God, and not forsake God's law to get the enemies off his back. God must strengthen him and give him the desire to keep His testimonies. As he himself confesses, he will keep God's commandments ONLY if God quickens him. For he has enemies inside himself as well as outside and all around him. He has his old man of sin and Satan inside, as well as Satan's servants outside and round about him. These strive to draw him away from God's law. Listen to the versification of his words:
Almost consumed, yet from Thy law
I have not turned away;
In loving-kindness give me strength,
That I may still obey.
Boast about what we did through our strength, and we reveal that we are not keeping God's precepts. For He forbids us to have a god besides Him. And if we get blessings because we fulfilled conditions, we saved God from disappointment; and then He depends upon us. Only if He quickens us will we keep His commandments.
Let us be careful not to elevate ourselves above Him; but rather thank Him for giving us every bit of our salvation through His Son and His Spirit. We cannot even say sincerely that He quickened us, until He gives us the desire and strength to do so. It is His mercy in Christ and not our self manufactured piety that saves us.
Song for Meditation: Psalter #53
Why not sing along??
“Again, do we love the convictions of the Word? Do we love the Word when it comes home to our conscience and shoots its arrows of reproof at our sins? It is the minister’s duty sometimes to reprove. He who can speak smooth words in the pulpit, but does not know how to reprove, is like a sword with a fine hilt but without an edge. …Dip the nail in oil, reprove in love, but strike the nail home. Now, Christian, when the Word touches on your sin and says, “Thou art the man”, do you love the reproof? Can you bless God that “the sword of the Spirit” has divided between you and your lusts? This is indeed a sign of grace and shows that you are a lover of the Word.”
- Date: 28-August
Rev. John A. Heys was born on March 16, 1910 in Grand Rapids, MI. He was ordained and installed into the ministry at Hope, Walker, MI in 1941. He later served at Hull, Iowa beginning in 1955. In 1959 he accepted the call to serve the South Holland, IL Protestant Reformed Church. He received and accepted the call to Holland, Michigan Protestant Reformed Church in 1967. He retired from the active ministry in 1980. He entered into glory on February 16, 1998.