Today we're taking a closer look at the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel.
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Acts 9:1-8 " And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
3 ¶ And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 ¶ And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 ¶ And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
7 ¶ And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus."
Psalm 90, written by Moses, is something of a meditation on Genesis. It speaks of the contrast between the transitory nature of man and the eternity of God; of the connection between sin and God's wrath; and ends with a prayer for God's compassion that is most wonderfully answered in Christ and his cross.
Paul exhorts brethren to put off the old man of flesh. He's not addressing the wicked. He addresses the redeemed who believe Christ is all. This is an encouraging word to those who, like Paul, "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Everything Paul says in this chapter is a work of grace that must be wrought in us by the Spirit of grace. We cannot put off the flesh, by the works or will of the flesh. These exhortations teach us our insufficiency, and show us our need of Christ. We are quickly confronted with the law of sin bringing us into captivity, and warring against the law of our mind written in our hearts by the Spirit. Through this warfare our Lord shows us our need of Christ and that "without [him I] can do nothing" (John 15:5). Through this understanding we cry out like Paul for God to save us and keep us through Jesus Christ (Romans 7:20-25). By this way our Lord grows us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We further learn patience and graciousness with our brethren, who are just like us, and need grace.
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight."
King James Version