First Posted: 3/14/2009
Consider how you represent the Lord. Does your life speak good things about Him, or do you fail Him?
Israel profaned the name of the Lord when, in exile, their captors spoke lightly of a God who appeared unable to protect His people. The Jews, God said, gave occasion to people to profane, or soil, His name.
The Lord will guard His name even when man will not. In Ezekiel 36:21, God said, But I had pity for mine holy name.
Ezekiel was commanded to tell the Jews that Gods favor to them was not about them, but for His holy names sake. The blessings God had in store for His people were not based on the merit of His people.
This is grace, and we are blessed, indeed, that God does not bless us according to what we deserve. We would truly be pitiful people if we got what we deserve.
For the Jews, God said He would sanctify His name and unbelievers would know He was the Lord. He would gather His people from all directions and bring them home to their own land.
Being the objects of Gods grace, the Jews perhaps felt unworthy and unprepared for His blessings. If we believe we are undeserving of Gods blessings, how do we become suited to receive those blessings?
Once again, this is an example of Gods grace. He promised the Jews, Ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. How else can we sanctify the Lords name unless He cleans us first?
Our Father even goes beyond cleansing to give believers a new heart and spirit as He takes away hard hearts. The Psalmist wrote: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
This is what the Lord does for everyone who comes to Him, seeking His pardon for sins. He cleanses us from our sins, and then He restores and renews us.
Part of that renewing is a change in the way a person thinks. The Apostle Paul said it this way: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24).
We cannot make ourselves new, but God is able to make new hearts and minds for men and women. In this, we come to understand the meaning of repentance. When we repent of our sins, it is more than seeking Gods forgiveness. Repentance means we grasp the unholiness of our sins, and true repentance brings with it remorse over our sins and the desire to never return to them again.
God said He would cause the Jews to, lothe themselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Lets ask Him to do that for us, too. He will make us people who speak good things about Him.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. [email protected] .