Monday, May 5, 2008

Overwhelming, Relentless Grace

Throughout the passage Ezekiel 36:28-38, I see God’s overwhelming,
relentless grace in dealing with his wayward, rebellious people. He is doing all the work! Look at how many times “I” is used:

“…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.”[1] Salvation and growth in grace are dependent upon reliance on God. It is all about God.

Picture from flickr

[1] Martin Luther, “Theological Theses,” in The Heidelberg Disputation, online: [17 April 2008].

The Bible. New International Version.


steve martin said...

Now that is the gospel!!

Hand Him over with no strings attached.

Kill us off with His law...and raise us with His promises.

Awesome post , Ivy!

- Steve M.

Ivy said...

Thanks for your comments, Steve. By the way I have come across a resource you may enjoy, Lutheran Wiki. The url is