The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Meaning and Motivation For Christian Obedience- Our Delight Is Christ's Glory and Joy

Well I'll just make it plain- you haven't really taken up the duty of sanctification until you've come to the point where knowing God deeply in order to see the beauty and glory of Himself has become your delight. And I would like to submit to you that a non-sovereign God and a non-saving Savior isn't that glorious and frankly, isn't really worth getting that excited about. But a God who is sovereign and a Savior whose sacrifice actually atones, actually saves, actually gives faith for all whom He died... now that's a game-changer. There's no story like that. It is the greatest story ever told: that the Savior would make such wretches His treasure, His bride, His pleasure, and irresistibly so, conquering my rebellious heart and will, turning me from my love affair with self and sin by His grace, making me willing to behold His face and want all that He is and all that I'm not, breaking my heart from what breaks His. 

And all by His power, His Spirit, His love, His grace. Not my free will. The atonement and the death of Christ is robbed of all its glory and at least half of God's love when it only is powerful to save when I, sinful man, choose for it to be so. A handcuffed God who either cannot or is too shy to not change my will and heart so that I love Him when He in fact is capable of doing so is neither good nor truly loving. Christ is not a lonely lover dealing with heartbreak. He saves all that He dies for. He saves whomever He wills. He picks His own bride and is so loving and gracious and powerful that He is irresistible to all whom He intends to spiritually marry. 

His grace and love overcame my sin loving heart and replaced it with a heart for Him. Tell me that's not a better, more loving God and Savior than the one who cannot secure the love of His bride but must be at the mercy of man's sinful will. Read Romans 3, we don't have free will. We are dead in trespasses and sin according to Ephesians 1-2. The only thing that could turn my heart from sin was Christ paying for my sins and thus freeing me from my own sinful desires in order to love Him and live for Him, by knowing Him more and more and more. Knowing God IS eternal life according to Jesus. A man and his wife get married to know each other more, so they can love each other more and live as one flesh, for one another, more and more. And Scripture tells us this is a picture of Christ's love for the Church. If you are saved you have been saved to know God, to know Christ and the Holy Spirit deeply, intimately, richly, and to love the Godhead more than you love anyone or anything else, even your spouse. In fact love for your spouse is meant to enhance your love and intimacy in relation to God. 

And this is why it is true that, whatever you love most in life, that is really your God, that is really whom, or what, you love most. That is what you have become one flesh with. That is really what you are enslaved to. That is really your spouse. But realize- please realize- that whatever you love, whether it be person or thing, was made by God? Isn't the artist more loved, more praised for his painting than the painting itself? Indeed, isn't the painting lovely and beautiful and desirable because of the artist's skill and dedication, and isn't the artist skilled and dedicated because he or she is made in the image of God and is but reflecting the beauty and skill of the one who made him or her? All truth is God's truth, all beauty is God's beauty. Whatever you take interest in, the thing that makes it appealing is the God who put it there, or put the person who made it there. 

So don't fall in love with the painting. Don't fall in love with the one who paints. Fall in love with The One who made painting, and made it to be so glorious, so beautiful, so pleasing, as He did music and movies and books and sports and games, and all things. Realize that the things that make these things delightful is that they are manifestations of the beauty and delightfulness of God Himself, of His very nature, of His very being. 

And if He has made such beautiful things out of dust, shouldn't we consider the fact that when He says do not do this or do do that, that He is merely instructing us in the proper use of His creations, and that the proper use is intended to maximize the delight, joy, beauty, and wonder they bring? Ah, and here is the beautiful connection- when we see how beautiful doing things the way He instructed actually is, how delightful and perfect His ways are, we see Himself better, and then we can glorify Him more, because delighting in the things He has made the way He has said to delight in them is the meaning of living for His glory, the meaning of obedience. And why would I ever want to be disobedient to that?

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