Such a Great Salvation (14)
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12.28, 29
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
AndYour salvation all the day,
For I do not know their limits. Psalms 71.15
Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified!” Psalms 70.4
Merely the edges
We have been attempting, with only the meagerest of satisfaction, to paint a picture of our great salvation that will stretch our minds and inflame our hearts to seek the Lord and His presence and power, to the fullest extent of all that He has accomplished for and promised to us.
I confess to feelings of inadequacy in trying to explain what we’re missing when we neglect this great salvation. I feel like Job, rebuking his friends by reminding them of the greatness of God, Who sees every soul at a glance, upholds the earth and all things, maintains the vast cosmos, brings the rains, rules the light and the darkness, “stirs up the seas with His power,” and “by His understanding He breaks up the storm.” He adorns the heavens with majesty and might, and He controls even the wicked and fallen angels. And yet, after such a breath-taking litany of mysteries, Job can say, “Indeed, these are the mere edges of His ways” (Job 26.1-14). Truly, “how small a whisper we hear of Him!” (v. 14), and how inadequate have been my efforts to rouse us from our neglect, and call us to greater diligence in working out our salvation in fear and trembling before the Lord.
Truly, who of us can ever know the limits of our salvation? God intends the knowledge of His glory to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2.14), to flood the world with grace, forgiveness, newness, goodness, beauty, hope, and joy. And He does this first of all in our souls, then from our souls into all our words and deeds; then by those words and deeds, God floods His saving grace and truth into every nook and cranny of our world, in particular, that part of the world He has assigned to each of us.
Salvation so great, so utterly transforming, so all-things-renewing is not a salvation merely to soak in, as you might indulge a hot bath, simply for the feel-good experience it yields. This is a salvation great to proclaim. This is Good News about the all-powerful God Who offers eternal and abundant life through our Lord Jesus Christ and according to His Word.
We must not consume this salvation merely on ourselves. Let us take up the psalmists’ resolve to proclaim the Lord’s salvation all day long, and to say continually, “Let God be magnified!”
Let us have grace
But for this, no less than for salvation itself, we will need grace. Our salvation brings us by grace through faith into a Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, a Kingdom that expands and increases in light and love and truth and goodness to manifest the glory of the Lord to every human being in every place.
And it does this through the witness of those who have received grace and who daily seek grace to fulfill their appointed callings as witnesses for Jesus Christ (Acts 1.8).
What does this mean?
Grace, recall, is both a disposition of God toward us and an active power of God in and through us. We need to be daily renewed in the grace of God, that we might always know how much He loves us, though we are but puny creatures; and what great lengths He has gone so that we might be saved. We need to bask in the grace of God, and marvel at it with tears, by reading carefully and reflectively of it in God’s Word, and praying it back to God in great detail, giving thanks for every indication, be it ever so small, of the undeserved love He shows us each day.
Then we must plead with God to give us such a disposition to the people around us, that we might look upon them as we delight in Him looking upon us, to love our neighbors, to care about their eternal disposition, and to do whatever we can to demonstrate the reality of the great salvation we have come to know.
And we must ask God to give us grace as active power to help us get beyond our natural self-interest, to be alert to every opportunity to show grace, and to banish our fears of what others may think, and step out of the boat toward Jesus, bearing witness as we do of His power, grace, forgiveness, and soon return.
God will give us the grace to bear witness to His great salvation, just as He gives us the grace to grow more fully into it day by day. But we must ask. We must ask specifically, believing as we do that God will work in our hearts so that we might serve Him acceptably through our words and deeds to bring His great salvation to light in our world.
And let us make one more observation about the writer’s charge concerning the grace of God: We must do so “with reverence and godly fear.” We do so with reverencewhen our motivation is to honor God and to represent Him rightly to the world. We want the people in our world to see God as He is, a God to be worshiped and revered and served. They will need to see that in our lives if they are to believe it can be possible in theirs.
And we serve God with fear when we remember that He is a consuming fire, that not only will He consume unrepentant sinners with eternal fire, and pour out His wrath on ungrateful people, but He will discipline us if we continue to neglect our great salvation and drift from His path (Heb. 12.3-11).
We will not bear witness to our great salvation unless we are, first, overwhelmed by the grace of it, and filled with the same; second, moved by grace to show our great reverence-deserving God to our world; and, third, fearful of how He may intervene – with our neighbors and with us – if we fail in our calling.
We may only know the merest edges of God and His great salvation. But we can grow in Him and in it, and as we do, let us tell the world how great He is and how great it is to be saved.
1. How do you seek the grace of God each day? How do you know when you’re basking in His grace?
2. Given the opportunity to explain our great salvation to a friend, what would you say?
3. Why must we both reverence God and fear Him if we are to serve Him acceptably?
Next steps – Transformation: For the next several days, concentrate on seeking grace from the Lord to serve Him acceptably. At the end of each day, give thanks for the ways He answered that prayer during the day.
T. M. Moore
Forward today’s ReVision to a friend and encourage your friend to subscribe. Forward today’s ReVision to a friend and encourage your friend to subscribe. This is the end of Part 2 of our series, Such a Great Salvation. For a free PDF of the seven lessons in this series, click here.
This is the end of Part 1 of our series, Such a Great Salvation. For a free PDF of the seven lessons in this series, click here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.