"Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
Humanity possesses great nuclear submarines by which the oceans can be traversed without ever coming to the surface. The secret of their tremendous power lies in a nuclear reactor hidden away in the depths of the submarine. That remarkable force does not need any refueling but is constantly giving off energy, so the submarine never needs to go into port for refueling. So it is in the life of a Christian. In these two verses is revealed the nuclear reactor for every Christian.
Look at the elements of this: Now may the God of peace. In this letter we have seen what peace is. The nearest modern equivalent is emotional health. In Christ we are in touch with the God of emotional health, the God who intends life to be lived on a peaceful level. With him is linked the Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep. There are two outstanding characteristics of sheep: They have no wisdom, and they have no weapons. They are forever running off and getting lost and unable to find their way back, and if anything attacks them they are utterly helpless to defend themselves. That is why they need a shepherd. That is why we need a shepherd, and why the Bible likens us to sheep. We have a Great Shepherd of the sheep. He is our resource, our provision — a God who is concerned about us, and a Great Shepherd who is there to watch us — because we have no wisdom and we have no weapons for our defense.
Linked with them is this great process that is spoken of here, who brought again from the dead ... by the blood of the eternal covenant. There you have the cross and the resurrection. The cross means the end of the old life of self-reliance, and the resurrection sets forth the power of the new life. That is the power that is released within the Christian by the indwelling Christ within him. We talk about the conquest of outer space but the greatest conquest ever made was when the Lord Jesus conquered inner space by moving into the heart of man, to plant within us the greatest power by which life can be lived — a power that heals and makes whole.
The result of all this is that God will equip you with everything good that you may do his will. This is the secret of effective service. You do not have to ask God to do this, he is there to equip you with everything to do his will. There is a full supply here and full ability. God is going to work through you, not apart from your will, but right along with it. You choose, you start out, but he is there to carry it through.
Then there is full acceptance, even before it happens. Working in you that which is pleasing in his sight. You know you are going to please God, you know that you cannot help but please him when you walk in this way and live on this basis. You are fighting a battle already won. But if we try to live in the self-effort of the flesh, we are fighting a battle already lost. This whole thing is wrapped around with the most life-changing phrase ever uttered by man, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Through Jesus Christ — that is the secret of life, that is the way God intended man to live. What good news for this present life! God intended it for you, that you might live in your present circumstances, wherever you are.
Father, help me to grasp and understand these truths, but more than that, give me the courage to step out upon them, that I might enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Life Application: The life-giving, life-changing Presence of our indwelling Christ is transcendent power of which nuclear-powered submarines is but a replica! Are we opting to stray as helpless sheep, or are we 'beholding the glory of the Lord', being transformed into His image?