August 27, 2021
" 'You will know that I am Yahweh, house of Israel, when I have dealt with you because of My Name rather than according to your evil ways and corrupt acts.' "
“’You will know that I am Yahweh, house of Israel, when I have dealt with you because of My Name rather than according to your evil ways and corrupt acts.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God.” Ezekiel 20:44
Salvation is by Grace through Faith: “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift - not from works so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 Lest we entertain the idea that salvation by Grace through Faith (and not through the works of the Law) is a New Testament idea, Ezekiel lets us know that this has ALWAYS been God’s standard. If we were weighed by our deeds, without the gracious leniency of the Lord, we could never enter into a saving relationship with Him, whereby He would consider us co-inheritors with Messiah. To be clear, the Grace of God is not that He gives us the faith to believe. God’s Grace is that He considers our faith (the faith of imperfect and unrighteous people) as if it were righteousness. How can this be? We can be counted as righteous because the OBJECT of our faith (Messiah Jesus) is perfect and righteous. It is not our works of the Law, rather, His atoning work on our behalf that the Father accepts as righteousness.
Getting back to Ezekiel, religion in Israel had become so corrupt that idolatry was mixed with YHWH worship. Worship was polluted and became worthless in God’s eyes. Salvation (God’s favor) was not determined by simply being Jewish and “going through the religious motions.” Just pursuing the culture of worship (while ignoring the ongoing pursuit of God’s Word) was dangerous because so many pagan ideologies & practices had been added, and they steered both the practice and philosophy of worship. So, God had to step in. He brought trauma to the kingdom and allowed the people who merely bore His Name in a national sense to be conquered and deported. Why would He do that? Because He is a just God. Also, He was separating the people who merely bore His Name NATIONALLY from those who would choose to bear His Name PERSONALLY. By God’s Grace, through the faith of the individual who chose to repent and follow Him as He prescribed, He (one-by-one) rebuilt His people, a Chosen People who had chosen Him. Have you chosen to follow God, Who has chosen you to be saved through your faith in Messiah Jesus?
“‘I will bring you from the peoples and gather you from the countries where you were scattered, with a strong hand, an outstretched arm, and outpoured wrath. I will lead you into the wilderness of the peoples and enter into judgment with you there face to face. Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you.’ This is the declaration of the Lord God. ‘I will make you pass under the rod and will bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will also purge you of those who rebel and transgress against Me. I will bring them out of the land where they live as foreign residents, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am YHWH. As for you, house of Israel, this is what the Lord God says: Go and serve your idols, each of you. But afterward you will surely listen to Me, and you will no longer defile My holy Name with your gifts and idols.’” Ezekiel 20:34-39