In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (ESV)
 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,  so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. (ESV)
Our Obligation In God’s Grace
This Tuesday, 31 October 2017, will mark the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, marking the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. One of the hallmarks of the Reformation’s teaching was the recovery of the doctrine of “Sola Gratia,” by grace alone our salvation comes to us from God. Another is “Soli Deo Gloria,” glory alone to God. Our salvation, from first to last, is all for the praise, as Paul has written in Ephesians 1.12, of His glorious grace.
David Wells has said, “It is the inextinguishable knowledge of being owned by the transcendent God that forms our character, and His ownership challenges every other contender, so that we know that we belong to God, and that changes everything.”
We will delight to do God’s will, we are obligated to do His will, and engage with trust in doing His will.
It changes everything when we know that we belong to God. We’re God’s children, we’re God’s inheritance, and so that changes the way we relate to the world. There’s nothing that we need from the world. We don’t need the world’s approval and approbation, and therefore we can go about…because we’ve gotten our approbation from our heavenly Father, and we delight in Him more than anything else. And by that delight, we are drawn to obey Him out of a sense of loving obligation.
And when we are being slagged by our peers, our workmates, our neighbours and the culture at large because we stand by the truth of God’s Word, it is knowing that we don’t need, and shouldn’t desire the world’s OK, the unbelieving world’s approval that is liberating. We are united with Christ. We have the smile and approval of God, not because of works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His mercies displayed to us in Christ. And nothing and no one can take that from us. Oh, we can forget it at times, and drift into seeking our approval from places and people who are fickle and feckless. But then we need to be brought back to where our real hope and affirmation lie: ‘No. I belong to God. I belong to Jesus, and I don’t care what others think of me, because I belong to God.’
You think you are going to be marginalized or made peripheral to those that to you seem important, who are most popular; and you remember, ‘I belong to God. He owns me. He bought me with a price. I don’t get my approval from my peers, from my mates. My approval comes from God. I belong to Him. I’m going to glorify Him in how I think, how I feel, how I act, how I speak.’
And if we have the temptation to withdraw from engaging the people around us with the Gospel, with the truth of God’s Word, to “duck and cover,” to not be the nail that sticks up, to even give-in and go along to get along, if we rightly remember that we have been saved by His glorious grace, then we will say ‘No. In my relationships, in my engagement with those around me, in the workplace, in the university, in the neighbourhood, in the shops, I’m going to remember that I belong to God, and therefore I’m going to live like I belong to God. I don’t care what that person thinks of me. I’m going to obey God’s word, because I belong to God. That’s my grateful obligation. I trust God to take care of me, that he’s got it all sorted. I’m going to pray for those who persecute me, who say all sorts of slanderous, ugly things about me, because I serve a Saviour who has endured the righteous wrath of God in my place, in whom I have forgiveness of sins.”
John Calvin said, “We are not our own. We are God’s. We belong to God; therefore, let us live for Him and die for Him.”
Paul draws our eyes to this, and you see how life re-orienting it is to realize that we don’t belong to ourselves: we belong to God. So, my friend, how is your life going to demonstrate this