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Hosea 14:4-8 @ 03:30

August 4, 2006

I’m not quite back from vacation yet, but I am back in the state and at a computer.  I’m on a 28.8kbps connection.  Took over a minute to download the banner picture.  I think it would be a more efficient use of my time to write out this post on fine stationery and hand deliver it to each of you.  But here I go anyway.

Last night at the campsite I woke up about 3am and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I went and sat in the car and stared at trees for about half an hour while drinking a New Glarus (WI) Spotted Cow Bottle-Conditioned Ale (2 1/2 stars).  Then I remembered.  Often when I’m up for no reason at 3am God wants to impress something upon me from his word.  The last time it happened was about 2 years ago and I learned from 2 Samuel 7 that life is not about building a house for God, it’s about God building a house for you.

This time I ended up in Hosea 14:4-8. 

“I will heal their apostasy.  I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.

I will be like the dew to Israel, he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon.  They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow; they shall flourish like the grain; they shall blossom like the vine; their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you.  I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.”

Notice the connection between healing and fruitfulness.  The Hebrew word for “their apostasy” means “their turning away” or “their backsliding”.  The application: Keep hacking at the tree of your besetting sin, for although there is no relationship between your progressive sanctification and your always unfettered access to God and your unchanging standing before God in the imputed righteousness of Christ, there is a connection between healing/holiness and fruitfulness/power in ministry. (cf. 2 Tim 2:21) We all need the fruit of one another’s holiness.  So keep hacking.

And while you hack, be strengthened by the fact that this promise is “Yes” for you in Christ.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2006 10:25 am

    Hey, Pastor Mike. Such a great passage, blending that principle of sowing through means of grace with God’s empowerment to result in our efforts blossoming and flourishing. You’ve commented before that imputed righteousness is an alien one, but I think that even our progressive sanctification is a little bit alien too, no?

    Thanks for the insight. Hope to catch you for a game of chess.

  2. August 6, 2006 5:30 pm

    Interesting question. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by the righteousness of our sanctification being alien, but I’ll try to riff off of it anyway.

    There is a sense in which you could say that the righteousness in which we are growing is not our own because it is the work of the Spirit in us. God is the author and perfecter of our sanctification just as he is of our justification.

    But in another sense the righteousness in which we are growing as we are progressively sanctified is our own. We really do righteous things. We really are changing into more and more Christlike men and women.

    The important thing is to keep the alien righteousness of Christ imputed to me distinct in our minds from the personal righteousness in which we are growing. The personal righteousness in which we are growing is _not_ the righteousness by which we are justified _even though_ it is authored by God and wrought by the Spirit in us.

    So, for the sake of clarity, I would reserve the term “alien righteousness” for imputed justifying righteousness.

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