GRACE NOTES- PASTORAL LETTER 9.7.23


Monthly memory verse: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:15-17).


Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,

It is my hope and prayer that this note finds you healthy in body, sound in mind, and guarded in heart by the perfect peace of the Lord.  I have been thanking the Lord for the blessing of worshipping with you and witnessing the baptism of one of our covenant children this past Lord’s Day.  I have also been asking that, with each passing week, He would help us to better understand and live according to His will in all things.  Indeed, this is the very charge given to us in our memory verses for the new month.

As He calls us to not be unwise but wise, the Lord charges us to avoid foolishness by growing in our knowledge of His perfect will.  In the words of the inspired Apostle, “do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17).  The Lord Himself is the fount of all knowledge and wisdom, so it stands to reason that for us to be wise rather than foolish must begin with a desire to know, and a resulting striving to obey, His will.  And, when we speak of His will in this way, we are referring to His revealed will – that is, those things which He has made known to us for our belief and obedience.  This has been set over against His hidden will, which refers to His sovereign purpose as He works all things according to His good pleasure (cf. Ps 115:3; Eph 1:11).  The latter is not for us to know, but the former is for us to diligently study and put into practice.  In the well-known words of Moses, “The secret things [hidden will] belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed [revealed will] belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29).  It is with God’s revealed will that we’re to concern ourselves.  And this revealed will is laid out for us in the written Word of God.  So, if we would honor the Lord’s desire for us as His children by being wise rather than foolish, if we would understand what His will for us is, then we must give ourselves to the attentive, thoughtful study of His Word.

So, what does His Word have to say to us about His will for us?  Well, the very context of the above citation from Deuteronomy 29 comes on the heels of a lengthy proclamation of blessings for obeying God’s law and curses for disobeying that law.  So, clearly, His will is that we study to increasingly know and submit ourselves to His law.  This aligns well with the specific declaration in 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “this is the will of God, your sanctification” – that is, our continual growth in holiness, which is nothing more than ever-greater conformity in mind, heart, and life to God’s law, which is the same thing as ever-greater conformity to the embodiment of that law, Jesus Christ.  To be sanctified is to become like the Lord Jesus, who perfectly obeyed and never once violated God’s law.  This is God’s will for His people – not that we try to discover His secret purposes and make decisions based upon this supposed insight, not that we somehow “divine” His intention for the future and choose our path based upon such claimed dreams or visions, but that we meditate on His Word day and night, allowing it to shape our thinking, our desiring, what we approve and disapprove, what we love and hate, and therefore how we speak and live in every facet of our existence.  Among other things, this will mean we are a thankful people who go about doing good, thus silencing the ignorance of those who would foolishly speak against us (cf. 1 These 5:18; 1 Pet 2:15).  In this and in other ways, we bring glory to our God as His saving, transformative power is made evident in those who bear His name.  In this we walk in the way of blessedness.  In this He is well pleased.  It is His will for us.

While this is certainly a challenging calling in a sinful world, it is a wonderful gift to God’s people.  All around us, people are living wildly erratic and inconsistent lives – having no logical or coherent view of the world and their place in it.  They are rootless, subject to being blown this way and that by the latest propaganda coming through their screens.  They are unsure of why they are here and what they’re really supposed to be doing with themselves.  They are desperate for meaning and therefore open to deception by anyone seeming to offer them a cause worth supporting.  But, no so with God’s people.  We have been given a clear guide from the Lord Himself – a Word that is inerrant, fully authoritative, and overflowing with wisdom from the One who knows all things.  Even in very dark times, we don’t have to wonder what is right or wrong; we don’t have to stumble about in the darkness; we don’t have to try to predict the “winning” side of the latest controversy and make sure we are on it.  The Lord has freed us from all of that by giving us His Word and telling us to take up and read, to meditate on it day and night, to not be conformed to this world by transformed by the renewing of our minds, in order that we might understand what is His good, acceptable, and perfect will (cf. Rom 12:2).  It is wonderfully freeing.  What the future holds is safely in His hands.  What a decision to obey Him will or won’t cost is securely in His grasp.  What remains for us is simply to store His Word up in our hearts, believe it, and live accordingly, trusting Him to do work all things together for our good as we walk in the path of childlike faith and obedience (cf. Rom 8:28).  It truly is a terrific gift to have His will for us placed right in our hands and be told to walk according to it.

Let us therefore make every effort to align with that vision of the blessed man in Psalm 1, meditating on the Word of our God all throughout the day and walking in the path it so clearly illuminates before us.   May He grant us so to do, and all the more as the lies that surround us thicken like mud that would hamper our steps and weigh us down.  And, as the resulting distinction between those who bear His name and those who don’t grows daily clearer, may the glory for creating the gap be His and His alone!

In Christ,

Pastor Eric

P.S.

Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00p