Our Pleasure & Our Duty

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Our pleasure and our duty,
Though opposite before,
Since we have seen His beauty
Are joined to part no more.

To see the law by Christ fulfilled
And hear His pardoning voice,
Transforms a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.

These words were written by John Newton, the once wretched slave ship captain turned abolitionist Jesus-loving minister. Something extraordinary happens when we confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead. Our unbelieving hearts and self-worshiping minds, which were once hostile to God and viewed His law as enslaving and oppressive, are transformed. We find freedom, beauty, and pleasure in God Himself and in His Word. Hebrews 10:16 says that He puts His laws on our hearts and writes them on our minds. We become like children, desiring to respond to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus by worshiping our God in spirit and in truth and by following His example, which He empowers us to do through His Spirit.

My question for you this week is this – and it’s one I have to ask myself more than often than I’d care to admit – do you know the freedom, beauty, and pleasure of childlike faith?

I overthink things a lot. I have a tendency to associate adulthood with seriousness and independence – neither of which is biblical. I can be clinical about the way I study Scripture and view God as distant, rather than near. I can worry so much about obeying the rules that I forget to love and enjoy the One who fulfilled the law, who told his disciples this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatand first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

This is the law He has put on our hearts and written on our minds! Christ is this law – love itself - fulfilled!

Having childlike faith doesn’t mean checking our brains at the door. The word disciple means “one who engages in learning through instruction from another.” It means understanding our position as children of God – relishing it, resting in it, and loving Him – with everything we have. It means knowing Him as our Father who is always with us and trusting Him in the way a child trusts her daddy when he hoists her up on his shoulders for a better view.

Hebrews 10:1-18, our text for this week, is about Jesus’ sacrifice once and for all. He’s done it. It is finished. So let’s stop striving and start trusting as children who know their Father. "Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before, since we have seen His beauty, are joined to part no more." If an angry slave ship captain can become like a child, so can you, and so can the person you’ve been praying for. Jesus transforms hearts and minds. No one is beyond His reach.

See you tomorrow!