I continually hear preachers repeat the phrase, “In Him . . .” “Whenever you need healing, just remember ‘In Him . . .'” “Do you need money? ‘In Him . . .'” “Do you need success? ‘In Him . . .'” Do you need a good looking new mate? ‘In Him . . .'” “Just remember everything is available ‘In Him . . .'”
That all sounds wonderful and inviting . . . . but it is my firm belief that before we can lay claim to any covenant promise, our God has to accomplish a work in us. What work am I referring to?
Well, Jeremiah had a clue what it is: “. . . I will make them fear me so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). That’s right. Before He does anything else, He will put His fear into our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit! The Amplified Version says, “I will put in their heart a fear and reverential awe of Me . . .” Ooh, ooh! Then the Expanded Bible writes, “I will make them want to respect me [L place my fear in their hearts] so they will never turn away [depart] from me…” Wow!
Obviously, each of those translations is referring to the provisions of our Father’s New Covenant within us. And, it makes it quite clear how this first work of the covenant will be performed: “I will make them fear me.” What He is saying is that none of us can work up a holy fear by the laying on of hands or by working real hard or by memorizing a bunch of Bible Verses. No, the only way this Holy work can be done in our hearts is if our God’s Spirit performs it! That is the only way!
What Jeremiah was trying to point out is that our Father is going to do some pretty cool things in our hearts. Something that has never been done before the Spirit of God came on that wonder day of Pentecost: “I will send My very own Spirit to live in you and give you a new heart. He will empower you to kill all fleshly deeds and will guide you into total freedom from the power of sin. Finally, He will cause you to desire obedience and the power to obey My good pleasure.”
Ooh-wee! How amazing and wonderful is that? Oh, wait! There is one work the Spirit must do within us before any of these others can be done. He is going to put in us the fear of God concerning sin. But as Tom Bradford explained, The fear of the Lord “is an expression that more means to respect the position; it is actually meant in a political sense. It is taken from a king/subject relationship.
“To ‘fear the king’ means to be obedient to him, while understanding that he is the giver of the law and he has your life (and well-being) in his hands. It does not mean to “be in terror of the king,” or even to “be afraid of the king.” It works identically when we are told to “fear God.” He will implant in us a profound awe of His Holiness so that we will not depart from His commands. If He didn’t do this, our sin would always lead us away like a puppy dog on a leash.
What I am saying is that the Holy Spirit changes the way we look at our sin. He knows that as long as we continue to take our lust lightly, we will never be set free. Wow! So, how does the Holy Ghost do this? By using the convicting Word of God — the piercing arrows of holy truth.
I am immediately reminded of what was written in the letter to the Hebrew church:
For the word of God is living and active and full of power making it operative, energizing, and effective. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and the deepest parts of our nature, exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Oh, my dear friends, we need to wake up from our slumber and realize that the Word of God is our only hope. The good news of God’s promises and the warnings of his judgment are sharp enough and living enough and active enough to penetrate to the bottom of our heart and show us that the lies of sin are indeed lies. The Word of God can rescue us from the lies and deceptions in the world.
When you begin to read and actually study and meditate on the Word of God, it is like, as one writer put it, “throwing open a window of bright morning sun on the roaches of sin masquerading as satisfying pleasures in our hearts.” Our Father has given us His Good news, His promises, His Word to protect us from the deceptions of sin that try to harden our heart and lure us away from our God and lead it to destruction!
Don’t grow weary and downhearted. Begin to rejoice in your battle to believe! The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and it will penetrate deeper than any deception of sin has ever gone and reveal what is truly valuable and what is truly worth trusting!
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