This week I’ve been thinking about the “wondrous mystery” of the Gospel! As much as I appreciate the kind of answers I can fully comprehend and explain, there is great significance in resting in the wonder itself. The gospel singer George Beverly Shea put it this way: “The wonder of wonders that thrills my soul is the wonder that God loves me. Oh, the wonder of it all!”
Contemporary composer and singer Matt Boswell sings this very same thought:
Come behold the wondrous mystery:
He, the perfect Son of Man, in His living, in His suffering
never trace nor stain of sin.
See the true and better Adam come to save the hell-bound man.
Christ the great and sure fulfillment of the law; in Him we stand!
Come behold the wondrous mystery: Christ the Lord upon the tree.
In the stead of ruined sinners hangs the Lamb in victory.
See the price of our redemption.
See the Father’s plan unfold.
Bringing many sons to glory,
grace unmeasured, love untold!
Several of my friends and family have been in Israel this past week. And WOW has it taken me back!! When I visited with my parents and sister in 2017, I was overcome with how at home I felt. Looking at the pictures this week reminded me of how real the scriptures became while I was there. This morning as I read Ezekiel 36, especially in light of the images of the land made holy by the holy One, adoration welled up within my soul.
The writer of Hebrews reflected on the glorious mystery of God’s faithfulness and mercy:
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be My people.
And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother or sister, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.
For I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.”
By saying a new covenant, He has declared that the first is obsolete.
And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away.
I do not typically use my blog to share something you can read for yourself elsewhere. But today I am.
Because in Ezekiel 37, we see the dry bones come alive.
Because it is in Israel’s restoration we see our own.
Because all of God’s promises are sealed with His own YES through Christ.
Because everything God has promised is ours.
And because, Spurgeon! 🙂
“If the Lord could see no ground of mercy in them, yet, so full of mercy is He that He would find a reason for exercising pity for His own name’s sake. If loving-kindness cannot come to them by any other means, then it shall come for God’s name’s sake.
What grand language this is! How different it is from the stern commands of the law! The law says, ‘Make your hearts clean; put away the evil of your doings;’ but the gospel covenant of grace says, ‘A new heart also will I give you, and I will cleanse you from all your iniquities.’
What splendor of love is this to a people who, mind you, had done nothing whatever to deserve it,—who were just as undeserving as in the day when the Lord smote them, and scattered them among the heathen! For no reason whatever but His own free grace, and for the glory of His holy name would God do these extraordinary deeds of love. What a wondrous God He is! Rightly do we sing,—
“Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?”
There was nothing for them to boast of in all the mercies they received. No merit of their own had brought them back the corn and oil; it was all of God’s infinite sovereign grace because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. How royally He talks—like such a King as He is—the Sovereign Lord of all!
The result of all this wondrous mercy was to be that they were to be ashamed of their former sins, and loathe their past iniquities, and so know the Lord as to turn from their evil ways, and live unto Him.
The prophet had been bringing many heavy charges against God’s people; he had been thundering out the most tremendous threats against them. God was angry with them on account of sin. The chapter is full of dreadful utterances, enough to make one tremble as he reads them.
And on a sudden the note altogether changes, and the prophet of thunder becomes the prophet of consolation.
Free grace follows like a clear shining after the rain.
Here, indeed, is matchless grace that these very people who for their sins were banished from their land, and who in their exile added to their sin by the way in which they blasphemed God — those very people are to be brought back, and the mercy of God is so to be displayed in them that, in the very people who blasphemed God’s name, God shall be held in honor.
Now notice that all this was spoken to persons who had no desire for these blessings. If they had had a desire for them, their hearts could not be considered to be stony, but they were set against God; they were His enemies; and yet He makes this solemn declaration in the sovereignty of His grace that He will give them a new heart and a right spirit.
And He comes and makes people that were not a people. Oh! that His grace would do so even now.
God Himself shall come and dwell in those hearts which once were a receptacle for the devil. He who talks in this sovereign way is God Himself. He first made the world as He pleased, and in the second new creation He does as He will, having power over us as the potter has over his clay. This is promised to the Jewish people, but it is also fulfilled in multitudes of others where God in the same sovereign way works out the purposes of His love.
Temporal mercies shall follow where spiritual mercies are given.
And prayer will always go with the divine working. Where God means to save, He sets people praying. Those who are saved intercede for others, and others who as yet are unsaved feel the need of the blessing and begin to cry for it, and the blessing comes. As the black cloud forebodes the shower, so does the gathering spirit of prayer always fore-token the coming blessing. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the memorial of Jehovah always is ‘The God that hears prayer.’ He is the God whose arm is always moved by the prayer of His people. Did not Moses stand between them and vengeance. Did not Elijah open and shut the windows of heaven by his prayer?
Nothing is impossible to those who know how believingly to inquire of God
The old covenant told us what to do, and commanded us to do it; but the new covenant enables us to do it; yes, it works in us that obedience which we never could have rendered to the old law, but which the new covenant gives to us.
How sweetly the mercy of God melts the human heart! How graciously the goodness of God produces repentance! That blessed result was never produced by the terrors of the law; but it is continually being brought forth by the loving-kindness of the Lord as manifested in the covenant of His grace.
The covenant is all of grace, you see; mercy is shown to the unworthy – not for their own sake, but for God’s own glory’s sake.
Oh, how sweet it is to have a share in this blessed covenant!”
(Spurgeon @ http://www.studylight.org )
Oh what an amazing mystery that His grace has come to me!