Saturday, September 24, 2011

embracing God's work

There is a common theme throughout Romans that becomes clearer by reading it in the Message version of the Bible;

We all agree, don't we, that it was by embracing what God did for him that Abraham was declared fit before God? Romans 4:6

This is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and his way, and then simply embracing him and what he does. God's promise arrives as pure gift. Romans 4:16

Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Romans 12:1

The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Doing things for God is the opposite of entering into what God does for you. Galations 3:11

But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs... Romans 2:9

And it means further that Abraham is father of all people who embrace what God does for them while they are still on the "outs" with God, as yet unidentified as God's, in an "uncircumcised" condition. Romans 4:12

And now what the law code asked for but we couldn't deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. Romans 8:3

How can we sum this up? All those people who didn't seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their "God projects" that they didn't notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. Romans 9:20

This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—"Jesus is my Master"—embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. Romans 10:4

It becomes obvious that it's not about us. It's not about our goodness, it's not about our will power, it's not about our performance. It is about embracing God's work, Jesus' work, the Holy Spirit's work in us and for us.

Embrace is an interesting choice of words. What does it mean to embrace?
There are various definitions;

to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug
to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly
to avail oneself of
to adopt

I think that every one of these definitions perfectly describes how we view God's work, especially once we realize our huge need for it, and our own immense lack of ability to accomplish ourselves what God has done and is doing.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Embrace what God has done.

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