Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose.”
The meaning of will on God’s part refers to the word thélō (a primitive verb, NASdictionary) – to desire (wish, will), wanting what is best (optimal) because someone is ready and willing to act.
Contrary to popular opinion, God doesn’t need us for anything. We think we bring something special to the table with our talents, beauty, intellect, or skills, but the sobering reality is…God can do just fine on His own.
This idea of God’s willingness to work in us and through us is reflective of Hs mercy and love for us. When I consider the magnitude of God’s glory, power, and Holiness, it is simply mind boggling that He places any thought into us at all, into me. I know who I am and I simply don’t deserve it, and yet He still shows me love.
There’s a classic saying, “You are so special, just like everyone else in the world!” This may seem a bit harsh but the reality of it is true. Everyone is unique in their own right, we all not only have a generic finger print that is unique but our soul is likewise unique in how we have experienced life, the choices we’ve made.
When we view God’s will toward us in the light of what we know, we see not only a desire in God for our best, but His patience in waiting for us to receive His love.
What is He waiting for?
If we knew the King of the Universe was ready and willing to act on behalf of us, what is it that keeps us from accepting His divine grace?
God’s intent for us is always good, it’s a function of His nature. He will not force us to follow Him, to love Him, or serve Him as God alone. This patience He shows us is a reflection of His love. When we look at at why God acts, we are digging into a depth of His character that must be entered into with caution. As the ancient High Priest in Israel would need to be fully sanctified and pure before entering into the Holy of Holy’s, lest he forfeit his life, I must be very cautious in demonstrating God’s intent or will. For me to assume I know the fullness of God’s will would be the very definition of foolishness. All I can do is dwell upon that which He has revealed and draw conclusions from them.
God’s good-will reveals His intent
I have found that the use of the moral law is critical in evangelism. The moral law as revealed in the 10 commandments is a scathing denial of our inherent goodness and the need for salvation. When we hold ourselves up to its standard of righteousness, we realize very quickly how far we fall short. It is meant to bring discouragement for those who practice self-righteousness and likewise exalt Jesus as Messiah.
Psalm 78:5-7 “For He established a testimony in Jacob,
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers,
That they should make them known to their children;
6That the generation to come might know them,
The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
7That they may set their hope in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments;”
The Moral law is used for a remembrance to the works of God. God doesn’t only have a will, He acts on that will.
To break God’s law is a spiritual death sentence. It is what Adam first did in the garden of Eden and this process of offending God has continued in mankind ever since. The affront to God’s Holiness, to God’s position, and depravity of which we have treated His name is beyond our understanding. I’ve mentioned this in the past but it’s worth repeating—
Exodus 33:17-19 “So the LORD said to Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor in My sight, and I know you by name.”
Then Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.”
“I will cause all My goodness to pass before you,” the LORD replied, “and I will proclaim My name—the LORD—in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
God’s glory = God’s goodness = God’s name
When we sin, we offend every aspect of who God is. We deny His glory, we offend His goodness, we defile His name.
With that being said, God still wills to work in us. That is what true Grace looks like. His intent is to bring us from darkness to light, to redeem us from the grave into newness of life.
Ezekiel 37:26-28 “26Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
The “I Will’s” of God’s promises are not in question. If God said He will do a work, it is set in stone. We have seen a few instances where He has honored a man of God in relenting from punishment but we see Him setting up those situations to reveal a greater truth. These men like Abraham or Moses were Jesus-like examples of a man going before God as a reprieve to God’s impending justice.
This passage in Ezekiel references within a future nation, His plans for His people.
1.) Establishing peace and multiplying His people is the foundation and building up of His church. Not a building but a people. A Holy nation that will dwell with Him forever.
2.). His sanctuary will be in their midst. The New Jerusalem will have God’s throne among His people, no separation. The thought of this excites me now. To dwell with Him in such close proximity will be a bliss unlike anything this world could afford. What a day that will be, what a future to look forward to.
3.). He will be our God and we His people. He has laid claim to us, He takes ownership of us, He loves us and our future is with Him. The security and peace that is fixed in Him is without equal.
4.). All who see His glory and power, throughout time, have witnessed His love to His people. The church is a testament to God’s faithfulness.
God shows love to everyone and yet His love is manifest within His people.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
This scripture should be a resting place in the midst of chaos. For those who have placed their trust in Christ alone, the Lord is able to work all for good. We don’t need to fear, we don’t need to worry about our future, He holds our lives in His hands and He is faithful.
One day He will present His finished work at the wedding supper of the Lamb and we will rejoice together.
Ephesians 5:25-27 “25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Our identity will be associated with the New Jerusalem. One of glory and honor. It will be an everlasting testament of God’s faithfulness in this life and the one to come.
Revelation 21:9-10 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”
This place of God’s throne dwelling among His people is identified with us. There will be an integration of the structure and message it portrays that will honor its inhabitants and glorify their King. Trust me….you’ll want to be a citizen of this magnificent city!
His will is for you to be there with Him….