“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else” Isaiah 45:22
This is a promise of promises. It lies at the foundation of our spiritual life. Salvation comes through a look at Him who is “a just God and a Saviour.” How simple is the direction! “Look unto me. How reasonable is the requirement! Surely the creature should look to the Creator. We have looked elsewhere long enough, it is time that we look alone to Him who invites our expectation, and promises to give us His salvation.
Only a look! Will we not look at once? We are to bring nothing in ourselves, but to look outward and upward to our Lord on His throne, whither He has gone up from the cross. A look requires no preparation, no violent effort: it needs neither wit nor wisdom, wealth nor strength. All that we need is in the Lord our God, and if we look to Him for everything, that everything shall be ours, and we shall be saved.
Come, far-off ones, look hither! Ye ends of the earth, turn your eyes this way! As from the furthest regions men may see the sun and enjoy his light, so you who lie in death’s borders at the very gates of hell may by a look receive the light of God, the life of Heaven, the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, and therefore able to save.
"For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation."
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.
While I’m sitting in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley area east of the Twin Cities at a scenic Caribou Coffee, across from my stunning wife, with a refreshing sparkling tea, and my Bible open to 1 Peter 5, I am pleasantly reminded of our occupational role in the Kingdom.
I’ve seemed to always wrestle with the balance of resting in Jesus’ finished works and doing work for the Kingdom. Both seem important, but it can be hard to find a decent heart posture in regards to this balance. In reading through 1 Peter 5 today, I stumbled across a verse that, I think, provides a great mindset for believers to have whilst doing Kingdom work.
"Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve…" 1 Peter 5:2
'not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…’
In this specific scriptural excerpt, the matter at hand is particularly shepherding or overseeing, but I think this same idea can be applied to many, if not all, works.
The difference lies in this: are we willing? Are we ‘eager to serve’ as the latter part of 1 Peter 5:2 states?
If you deal with feelings of obligation, burdened responsibility, or encumbering dutiful action, I encourage you to rest in the fact that Jesus paid it all and we can’t do anything to add to His sacrifice or to our own salvation. We are no longer under a law that demands our effort to be enough. We live under God’s grace and anything good, beautiful, or profitable that will shine through our good deeds is from the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
But, there is work to be done ("In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16), and as long as the Bride has an eager and willing heart to do good works, we will see fruit. After all, if this approach is taken, we will enjoy serving God and God’s desire for us to be willing and eager to serve will be fulfilled (‘as God wants you to be…’).
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."