Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

We belong to the God who renews. All of God's interaction with humanity has the goal of renewal. Evil invaded God's perfect creation. It received a place in this physical world by human invitation. The humans issued that invitation because they were deceived. The deceit caused them to regard God as their enemy and evil as their friend.

Satan's deception destroyed the open, life-sustaining relationship between God and humanity. It also destroyed the relationship that blessed and nurtured marriage.

The moment that evil destroyed God-designed relationships, God committed Himself to renewal. It was humanity's mistake, not God's. Humanity was deceived, not God. It was humanity that doubted God, but it was God who committed Himself to renewal. God wanted the relationship between Him and people renewed. God wanted the relationships between people renewed.

God refused to abandon His commitment to renewal. As He struggled with deceived humanity, He traveled a long, twisting, frustrating road. God's intent was frequently challenged and rejected by the human wills of faithless people. If people had trusted God, His power could have produced renewal in a brief time. However, it took God a long time to make renewal a reality. Distrustful people opposed God as He pursued the restoration of relationship. Deceived people were suspicious of the purposes and desires of God. Suspicious people saw God (not evil) as the problem.

God's investment was enormous. The final payment of that investment was the blood of His own son. When two goals were accomplished fact, the renewal of the God/human relationship became reality. The two goals: (1) the perfect atonement for all human evil and (2) the defeat of death through resurrection. The reality: anyone who wanted relationship with God could enter that relationship. Relationship with God is a continuing state for the person (1) who accepts Jesus' atonement and (2) who trusts resurrection.

From Jesus' resurrection to the end of this world, one type of person gladly accepts this opportunity for relationship with God. Who? The person who wants God to create in him or her a clean heart, who wants God to renew in him or her a steadfast spirit.

I sense the spirit of renewal at West-Ark! May we renew our relationship with God and each other! May we hunger for clean hearts and renewed spirits!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 20 February 2000

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