I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion. And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.” – Hosea 2:19-20
How is God going to take this rebel people, Israel, and draw them to Himself? This is a people who was running after Baal and other idols of the land and even perverted the name of Jehovah by mixing worship of Jehovah with Baal worship. They were a vile, corrupt, and wicked people. How were they going to come to a day of consecration and maturity? How were they going to come to a day of joying and celebrating in the one true God?
The same way you and I are going to get there…Grace! He who began a good work in you will perfect, or continue, it until the day of Christ Jesus. Isn’t that good news? He began in grace; He continues in grace; and, He will complete us by His grace!
Pastor, what is grace? Well, grace can be defined a lot of ways. We can preach and talk about grace all day long, but one way to understand it is God’s unmerited favor. In His own good pleasure He chose Israel to be His people, just as He chose you and me to be His own.
So, how is Israel going to come to this Divine fruition? How are we going to come to this Divine fruition? It is by His completing grace. Grace is going to complete the work that grace started. And that’s how we know we are real Christians. The old Baptists used the phrase “the perseverance of the saints.” This means grace will not leave us. We wander around, slip and slide in the world, and chase after idols. But grace comes and breaks us, makes us miserable, and then pulls us back. Then we want to hear the preaching of the word again. We are drawn back to the word because grace doesn’t let us go. And as grace is doing its completing work in our lives we begin to see “maturity” and “ministry” through our lives. These two always go together.
So, why don’t you test yourself? Did you stand before your local church and pledge your commitment, your allegiance, and your loyalty? Did you commit that you would do nothing to ever divide or hurt this body? Have you matured to where your joy is ministry in the church? Not taking, but giving? Not receiving, but serving others? This is evidence of completing grace!