I came across one of my favorite Old Testament passages today in my bible reading. Ezekiel 16. The entire chapter is incredible, but the first portion of it is a picture given by the LORD to Jerusalem. It is describing how they became God’s chosen people.
and say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’
(Ezekiel 16:3-6 ESV)
Notice who took the initiative, who did the saving, and what part Israel (represented by Jerusalem in this text) had in their becoming the chosen people of God.
We now have a much clearer picture of this in light of the revelation of the New Covenant (The New Testament). Compare this text with the language Jesus uses in describing the new birth in John 3. Just as Israel had nothing to give, neither did (do) we. This is why Jeremiah says:
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)
Every salvation is owed not to a decision man has made (imagine the baby whose cord was not cut, wallowing in its blood making a decision to choose God), but rather to the initiative of the Father in saying “LIVE”!
Only then is the heart regenerated, turned from stone to flesh; only then does the one who is dead come to life.
If you are in Christ, then praise the Lord for his free, sovereign grace toward you, a sinner who was in the spiritual state of that little baby wallowing you its blood.