Waking Up in a Covenant

 
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In Finally Alive, John Piper says of the new birth: “You can’t make it happen yourself. God makes it happen. It happens to us, not by us. But it always happens through the word of God.”[1] One could, in a manner of speaking, paraphrase the first passage of Ephesians chapter two to read something like: “You were asleep, walking dead in your sin. But God woke you up, and now you’re awake.”[2] The great “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, reflected on it this way: “God has quickened us, who were dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually dead. We were full of vigour towards everything which was contrary to the law or the holiness of God, we walked according the course of this world; but as for anything spiritual, we were not only somewhat incapable, and somewhat weakened; but we were actually and absolutely dead. We had no sense with which to comprehend spiritual things. We had neither the eye that could see, nor the ear that could hear, nor the power that could feel.”[3]

Yet “you He hath quickened.”[4]

The saving grace of the strong Savior is good news indeed. Using Piper’s words again, God Himself is the Gospel.[5] Knowing the saving Son “holds” all the saving Father has “given” Him in His saving hand is perhaps the singular truth we need to get us through sun up to sun down wondering who will save us from these bodies of death, so given to recurring indiscretions.[6] We can, however, stare at our sin and stupid and remember those beautiful words Paul wrote us: But God. You were dead, but God intervened. You loved your treachery, but God interceded. You denied Him before dawn, but that Man Jesus prayed for you and prayers at the right hand of the Father must get heard mighty fast because you’re still saved.[7] Take courage, saint.

The beautiful gift of salvation is as irrevocable as the rest of them, this “benefit” of God’s grace and mercy towards His enemies.[8] Who could fathom a Sovereign who would take on a dusty frame just to give it up for kingdom traitors? Literally no one. No one would think this up because His holy nature betrays that of our sin. His very presence exposes that thing in us that has hated Him since we bit what we shouldn’t have eaten, when the creator first began to scorn the Creator. Hell is too good for us, yet He restrained His hand because He is kind.[9]

Get drunk on the mercy of the saving God. There is none like Him.[10]

The new birth is the first mark of saving grace working to sanctify a child of wrath—which we all were, at a minimum, and some still are.[11] No one becomes a child of God but by the saving intervention of God Himself, the Father of Lights and Glory.[12] So those who’ve bowed the knee to King Jesus have absolutely nothing boast about but Him, absolutely nothing to cling to but the cross, and absolutely nothing to cry out for but the same intervention on every other sinner’s life.[13] This should make us the most fervent intercessors and far-reaching missionaries. It has before.[14]

In the earliest hours within which the Everlasting Covenant was first unveiled, the father of the faith we bear fell asleep. Literally—he fell asleep. Took a good, hard power nap while the Holy walked down an aisle cut for a covenant and Abraham woke up in the covenant. He woke up bound up in the sovereign salvation of God and could not get out of it if he tried. Neither did he get into it because he tried—Abraham fell asleep, and then he woke up in a covenant. He woke up in the Everlasting Covenant. He had absolutely nothing to do with it. Abraham was Abram, a pagan man who worshipped the petty moon, but God called him and the calling of God cannot be averted, thwarted or defeated.[15]

The One who leaves the ninety-nine to go after the lost one found him out.[16] The One who loses none snatched him from his blasphemy.[17] The One who stays up all night praying us through our stupid stayed up for Abram and gave him a new name and a new home and a new family.[18] That man from Ur took a nap in Hebron and woke up in a covenant that has implications on your life today as you read this.

Abraham had nothing to do with it.

Isaac had nothing to do with it.

Jacob had nothing to do with it.

You had nothing to do with it.

We are but trophies of grace, crafted over time to shine for eternity.[19]


“O come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;

Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”[20]


 
 
 
 

Stephanie Quick is the author of To Trace a Rising Sun and a writer and producer serving with Frontier Alliance International in the Middle East. Sign up for her ministry updates here and receive a free copy of her book Confronting Unbelief. She can be reached at stephanie@stephaniequick.org.


 

[1]  Piper, J. (2009). Finally alive. Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications; Minneapolis: Desiring God. (You can read this book here: http://document.desiringgod.org/finally-alive-en.pdf?1446647305).
[2]  Ephesians 2:1-10
[3]  Spurgeon, C.H. (1892). Life from the dead. Retrieved from http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/sermons/2267.htm
[4]  Ephesians 2:1. See above.
[5]  Piper, J. (2005). God is the gospel. Wheaton: Crossway Books. (You can read this book here: http://www.desiringgod.org/books/god-is-the-gospel).
[6]  Romans 7:24-25
[7]  Luke 22:32; Hebrews 7:25
[8]  Psalm 103:2
[9]  Ephesians 2:7; During the Hebrides Revival, an elderly gentlemen was found in front of the police station one night buckled over on his knees, burdened by the weight of his sin and guilt before God, sobbing and crying, “Hell is too good for me! Hell is too good for me!” Read about this and more in Sounds from Heaven: The Revival in the Isle of Lewis, 1949-1952 [Peckham, C., Peckham, M. (2011). Christian Focus.] 
[10] Romans 3:9-18, 23; I Corinthians 6:11
[11] John 1:12; Ephesians 2:1-10
[12] Ephesians 1:17; James 1:17
[13] Romans 3:27-28; 5:11; I Corinthians 1:31; Galatians 6:14
[14] The missionary thrust during the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries was driven by men and women who clung to the sovereignty of God in salvation; Charles Spurgeon, JC Ryle, William Carey, George Muller, George Whitefield, Adoniram Judson, and Hudson Taylor were all pioneers and supporters of missions and relief ministry driven by their confidence in God’s saving hand to retrieve His lost sheep.
[15] Isaiah 55:11
[16] Luke 15:4-7
[17] John 6:37-39; 17:12; 18:9
[18] Genesis 17:5; Psalm 121:4; Hebrews 7:25
[19] Daniel 12:3
[20] Psalm 95:1-2

 
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