“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession, that you may declare the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
The declaring assumes we have discerned and delighted in the excellencies.
“You shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 39:18
Whether you stand or whether you fall, you will have your life.
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
And be sure your fear is full of joy.
“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11
“The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.” Ecclesiastes 12:10
Beauty in truth.
Let God define both.
Then make both the measure of every word and deed.
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.’” Ecclesiastes 12:1
Parents, don’t underestimate the impact of this sentence for your teenagers. It sank into me.
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24–25
By this word we were born again, and by this word we will live forever.
“I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth.” Jeremiah 33:8–9
Cleansed. For joy and praise.
“Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
That is, earnestly desire, hope for, pray for, and love the Lord’s appearing.
“Thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this disaster upon this people, so I will bring all the good that I promise them.” Jeremiah 32:42
This promise is sure because their repentance is his new-covenant gift.
“Cause me to return and I will return.” Jeremiah 31:18
“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17
Dear Christian, your Father in heaven cannot be stopped in his pursuit of your humble, holy, never-ending happiness.
“I will make with them an everlasting covenant: I will not turn from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.” Jeremiah 32:40
My persevering, trembling trust, his gift.
“He will hold me fast!”
“He will hold me fast!”
“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.” John 2:11
He did a sign.
The Bible is mainly a record of what God has done, is doing, and will do.
And the aim of every deed, every act, is: Behold my glory! Know me. Know me!
“My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” John 4:34
Obedience may deplete the body. But it nourishes the soul.
Because all true obedience is the obedience of faith—a branch drawing down nourishment for fruit-bearing.
“If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be explored, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:37
If God were measurable by man, mercy would run out.
“You have disciplined me like an untrained calf; cause me to return and I will return (הֲשִׁיבֵ֣נִי וְאָשׁ֔וּבָה), for you are the Lord my God.” Jeremiah 31:18
“God may perhaps grant them to repent.” 2 Timothy 2:25
Let every wandering sinner cry: bring me back!
“When Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him: I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:2–3
“A Jew is one inwardly and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” Romans 2:29
“I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:21
“Since we have a great high priest, Jesus, the Son of God . . . let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.” Hebrews 4:14–16
“Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:20
Because the sinner comes back to the one who bore his sins (1 Peter 2:24–25). We cover by bringing to the one who covers.
“The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming. When he comes, he will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am he.’” John 4:25–26
This was a spectacular claim!
After centuries of prediction and expectation and waiting, I am he.
“The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:23
To seek and save the lost is to seek and make worshipers. He is glorified by our gladness in him.
“Do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” James 5:12
Don’t say “Yes,” when you mean maybe.
And don’t say, “Damn right!” when you mean yes.
Jesus: “Whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
Saving faith is like drinking in all that God is for us in Christ—with lasting satisfaction.
“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:29–30
When he comes every humble shepherd will be a happy sheep.
“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:4
No reckoning from cause-effect can know tomorrow. God is always the wild card.
Now you see it; now you don’t.
Such is the longest human life.
“What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14
“Whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be seen that his works have been carried out in God.” John 3:21
What does it mean to come to Jesus?
One thing it means is that at least the embryo of the desire is there that God be credited for all my good choices.
“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17
There will be a new world. It will be filled with Christ-exalting believers. All who have not believed will be in outer darkness. The world will be saved.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7–8
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:6–8
Submit. Resist. Draw near.
God will exalt. Satan will flee. God will draw near.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14–15
The viper of sin has bitten us all. The venom is lethal. There is only one remedy. Christ. Look and live!
“‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:7–8
Thus will your unregenerate beloved be taken off guard.
“We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
and the iniquity of our fathers,
for we have sinned against you.
Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake.” Jeremiah 14:20–21
Your name. Your fame. Your honor. Our only hope.
“Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.” Jeremiah 14:7
If there be any hope for us, O Lord, it will be in your zeal for your name.
“He who loves wealth will not be satisfied with his income. . . . But sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much.” Ecclesiastes 5:10, 12
Work, as to the Lord, not wealth as a beloved, gives rest.
“A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:18
“The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
The soil of anger does not grow the tree of righteousness.
But truthful peace. Oh, how fruitful this soil!
“‘What sign do you show us for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ . . . He was speaking about the temple of his body.” John 2:18–22
He lays it down. He takes it up.
And ours! (Philippians 3:21)
“I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory.” Jeremiah 13:11
This is our Christian calling: to win for him a great name, great praise, great glory.
“Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!” Isaiah 10:15
“Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.” Ecclesiastes 4:13
Would you be better than the old, better than kings? Do not seek riches. Seek wisdom.
“No human being can tame the tongue.” James 3:8
Like a wild stag you cannot bridle. Like a cobra you cannot put in a cage. Like a forest fire out of control.
A tongue in the service of Christ-exalting love is a supra-human work of God.
“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11
The sign revealed the glory.
The glory awakened faith.