“…the land I gave… I will be your God” (v. 28).
“I will save… I will call” (v. 29).
“I will increase” (v. 30).
“I want you to know” (v. 32).
“I cleanse…I…resettle) (v. 33).
“I have rebuilt…I…have spoken…I will do it” (v. 36).
“I will yield…I will make” (v. 37).
“I am the Lord” (v. 38).
In verse 36 alone it is God who rebuilds what was destroyed and replants what was desolate. He has spoken and he will do it. This is a concept I cannot escape. Our works are not good enough to win us salvation or to make us any better Christians. I have a better grasp now of why Luther was so excited by the revelation of his own inability.
True restoration and change is nothing broken humanity can accomplish. Though made in the image of God, that image is tarnished by sin. Salvation and sanctification for the Christian are all God’s work. As Luther wrote in the Heidelberg Disputation, “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.” Salvation and growth in grace are dependent upon reliance on God. It is all about God.
Picture from flickr