“Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. – Ezekiel 36:22–32 (ESV)
Iain Duguid writes:
God’s “wonderful plan” for our lives is not limited to taking us to heaven; it also includes bringing heaven into us, remaking us into a holy people. He is not content merely to wash His people of their past sins and to impute to them the righteousness of Jesus Christ, He also wills to work a perfect holiness in them. This is the second stage of God’s great work in redeemed humanity: renovation. God’s determinate plan is that we be perfect as He is perfect, that when Christ returns, we be completely purified from all sin. To be sure, that purpose is not yet a present reality. Everyone living in this world does, in fact, still sin. But the Spirit has been poured out into our hearts, in a measure that Old Testament saints could only dream about, in order that the process might begin in us here and now in full assurance that on that day it will be completed.
To be sure, Old Testament saints also experienced the renewing work of the Spirit of God. But in their experience the work was always partial, always provisional. Now that Christ has died and risen, the Spirit of God has been given to us in full measure, so that by Him we might put to death the misdeeds of the body. At present, we may experience only the firstfruits of the Spirit’s work, and we await with eagerness the fullness of redemption. But just as we look forward to the day when we will be done with sin and long for its coming, so also that promise of God provides the incentive to holy living here and now.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 73
Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.