Cooperating With Our God

I think I told you that I picked up a new Bible recently, entitled “The New English Bible.” I love how it renders several passages. For instance, it rightfully combines Romans chapters seven and eight and makes the transitions so understandable.

I discover this principle then, that when I want to do the right, only the wrong is within my reach. In my inmost being I delight in the law of God, but I perceive that there is in my bodily members a different law, fighting against the law that my reason approves and making me a prisoner under the law that is in my members, the law of sin. Miserable creature that I am, who is there to rescue me out of this body doomed to death? God alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Thanks be to God! In a word then, I myself, subject to God’s law as a rational being, am yet, in my unspiritual nature, a slave to the law of sin.

The conclusion of the matter is this: there is no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus, because in Christ Jesus the life-giving law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death. What the law could never do, because our lower nature robbed it of all potency. God has done, by sending His Son in a form like that of our own sinful nature, and as a sacrifice of sin, he has passed judgment against sin within that very nature, so that the commandment of the law may find fulfillment in us, whose conduct no longer under the control of our lower nature, is directed by the Spirit (Romans 7:31-8:4)

See, isn’t that a beautiful explanation of what our Lord has done?

Take this further. In Paul’s second letter he writes:

Yes, he will continue to deliver us, if you will co-operate by praying for us. So then, with so many people praying for our deliverance, there will be many to give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favour God has shown toward us (II Corinthians 1:10-11)

Wow! Isn’t that cool? You know, throughout the Scriptures there is an interworking of God’s will and the will of men. They were designed to work together in full and complete co-operation. This was conceived and designed by Yahweh, the God of Creation, and Sovereign Lord. It was his desire to give His man complete freedom and free will.

They were created in the glorious likeness to Himself in “the dignity of causality,” to use Paschal’s phrase. In His Universe, all things are arranged so He could work His will through His man’s exercising his gift of free will. It is a gift and one which, while it confers staggering power on us humans [“the things I have done, you may also do” (John 14:12-14)], it also, believe it or not, limits the Almighty!

This is one of those “Holy Mysteries” — that God could be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce His man. He calls us to co-operate with Him. And we should be honored to be given the opportunity to participate in His good deeds and work in His Creation.

Do you remember who He asked for help in performing His miracles? Fill the waterpots; Stretch out your hand; Distribute the loaves. Indeed, that little word of Paul’s to the church in Corinth contains a kernel of the truth: “He will deliver us if you will co-operate by praying.” That is the secret!

For the next two weeks, a dear friend of mine returned to Russia so he can minister and strengthen the hands of brothers and sisters there. But before he left he recognized how much he would need us to co-operate with him and our Lord. He asked us to continually keep him and the churches in prayer.

And that is the other secret: as we pray, we are indeed co-operating with our Lord in the Earth. In fact, I will go far as to say, without our prayers, there can be no successful outreaches and ministry. As E.M. Bounds stated,

“What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but rather, men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men — men of prayer”

My friends, is there something you are hoping for today? Maybe there is a condition you must fulfill before the Lord can grant it. He will if you will.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you—a to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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