Westminster Theological Seminary  1997-06-02 - Who's doing the Renewing?

This devotional is written in response to a request that I share some thoughts on this verse.

2 Corinthians 4:16. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward is being renewed day by day."

Anyone had a birthday in the last year or so? I have. The older I get the more the "outward man perishing" is a reality. It is more and more difficult to lose a nights sleep and still function the next day. But this verse offers us great encouragement. Our inward man, lets call him our "Spiritual nature" is being renewed daily. This should grab our attention. Who is doing the renewing?

I love going to church, hearing the word of God preached, and especially singing great hymns. It is for me, a real spiritual "shot in the arm." It helps me begin my week. This kind of renewing is not what is in mind in this verse. The verb translated "is being renewed" is passive. This means that our daily renewal is a process of us being acted upon. Americans don't like to hear these things. If we are not doing the renewing, then we are puppets and we lose freewill. It is here that I would like to suggest an alternative reaction. Let us not do a freewill debate here. This renewal is one of the great ministries of the Holy Spirit to us. I would suggest that you read Romans 8:12-16 in connection with this here. In a sense the Holy Spirit is encouraging our spirit. The Holy Spirit is daily giving us the spiritual renewal to press on even though we see and feel our outward man perishing. It testifies to us that there is more than temporal realities, there is hope for a future, a blessed future with Christ, even when all around us we see perishing. This inward daily renewal is one of the true blessings of being a follower of Christ. Having said that there is this little part of me that says, yea but what about the puppet stuff. "You are still being acted upon." And part of me does not like that. I am an American, darn it, and I'm into control. I remind myself that God's word is teaching this. There is simply no way, except denial, to get around what the Greek is saying here. I also remind myself who God is, and who I am. What a blessing! If I could choose anyone that ever existed to renew my inner man, it would not be myself. It would be my Creator. Some will say this makes me a puppet, and if so, then I'm wearing the strings and my arms are a-movin.

"For our holiness is all the righteousness of God, all the beauty of the soul is wholly and only divine light reflected; all grace is nothing but the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and all these graces and spiritual beauties, which are to the mind as attire and ornament to the body, are Christ in the soul, and nothing else; wherefore we are commanded to put on Christ." --Jonathan Edwards "I love Edwards"--so I say!

Soli Deo Gloria,
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