“God Now Accepteth Thy Works!”
“Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
Take another drink from this deep well. What works does God accept? Which of our works are now accepted of God? Without question, the Lord God accepts the obedience of Christ as our Representative and Surety as our works. — That is the righteousness of God that is imputed to us in free justification. Certainly, the Lord God accepts our acts of worship, devotion and service by the merits of Christ’s blood and righteousness, by his gracious intercession for us in heaven (1 Peter 2:5). But there is nothing in Solomon’s words about those things.
Solomon is clearly talking about the ordinary, common affairs of everyday life. He is talking about things so ordinary, common, routine and mundane as eating a piece of bread and drinking a glass of wine. Is Solomon declaring that God accepts our lives? Is the Spirit of God here telling us that God accepts every aspect of the believer’s life in this world? Indeed, he is! In free justification God imputes the righteous obedience of Christ to us. In that same free justification, by the blood of his darling Son, the Lord God assures us of the non-imputation of sin to us, because Christ has put away our sins. And though our lives are shot plum through with sin, God refuses to charge us with sin (Romans 4:8) and accepts our lives, all that we do in life, as perfect works of righteousness (Romans 12:1).
Let me put that in shoe leather. — God almighty declares that both the plowing of the wicked and the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to him. Indeed, the very life of the wicked is an abomination to him (Proverbs 21:4, 27; 15:8-9). But God approves of the way of the righteous and declares that the mouth of the righteous is a well of life (Psalm 1:6; Proverbs 10:11). In other words, everything about the reprobate and everything done by the reprobate God counts an affront to him, an abomination before him, and will use it to torment him in hell. And everything about his elect, everything done by them, God accepts in and by Christ.
Giving a cup of water in the name of Christ is as accepted by God as laying down your life as a martyr for Christ. Digging ditches to provide for your family for the honor of God is accepted by God as much as preaching the gospel. Building a house or keeping one, raising children or educating them, being a good father or mother, or a good friend or brother for the glory of God is as accepted by God as being a missionary in New Guinea. God accepts your daily employment, as one who serves him as a carpenter, a teacher, a craftsman, a salesman, an engineer, or a garbage collector, as he does my daily employment as a pastor and preacher, studying his Word. — There is no such thing as “clergy and laity” in the kingdom of God. There are no big “I’s” and little “yous” in God’s church.
The Lord did not save my soul. He saved me, all of me. He did not save your soul. He saved you, all of you. He accepts us as his own. He accepts our lives; and he accepts our works, for Christ’s sake! That is clearly what Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 9:7-10.
Roll that word “accepteth” over in your heart. What a grand word it is! It is one of those words that carries many shades of meaning. It really cannot be accurately translated by just one English word. When Solomon wrote, “God now accepteth thy works,” he was saying, God is pleased with your works. — God approves of your works. — God is satisfied with your works. — God delights in your works. — God is favorable toward your works. — God receives, with pardon, your works. — That comes closest to the mark. The God of heaven receives our works through the sin-pardoning efficacy of Christ’s precious blood. — He washes them clean and accepts them!
It is upon the basis of this divine approval that the Apostle Paul urges us to devote our lives to our Savior (Romans 12:1). We are acceptable to God by Christ’s living, perpetually efficacious sacrifice; and by that same sacrifice our works are now accepted of God as works of love and faith. — He accepts my life as a life utterly devoted to him alone and perfect in Christ!
God accepts our works, because he accepts us! Because God my Father accepts me in Christ, I should “rejoice in the Lord always!” May God the Holy Spirit teach me and give me grace to joy in what I have; joy in what I expect; joy in even what I want, for those very wants will bring me to my Savior. Do I have fears? Yes, just as you do; but even our fears should not destroy our joy. Our fears keep us clinging to our Savior, depending upon him for everything. When we suffer, our light afflictions are sweetly blessed to our souls’ good, when they are made to be renewed occasions for the Lord Jesus to come to us and soothe our hearts with love. In his time he will deliver us from all our troubles.
If we suffer loss, let us still eat our bread with joy and drink our wine with a merry heart, for lose what we may, we cannot lose Christ. We cannot lose his love, his favor, his grace, his Spirit, the efficacy of his blood, and the merits of his righteousness. Oh precious security, precious salvation in the Lord our Righteousness! — “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” (Isaiah 3:10).
As God now accepts our works (1 Peter 2:5), because the works of our Surety are our works and we have been washed in his precious blood, in the Day of Judgment God will accept our works (John 5:29; Revelation 20:12); and our works shall follow us to glory (Revelation 14:13; Jeremiah 50:20). In free justification the righteous works of Christ as our Surety have been imputed to us. And because the death of Christ demands for us the non-imputation of sin, God now accepts our works, — all because we are “accepted in the Beloved!”
Our best works of righteousness are nothing but sin, without Christ. But in Christ our God smiles upon us, accepts us, and accepts our works as the works of him whose name is called, “the Lord our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16). — “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.”
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