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Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

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How different are you?

January 4, 2018

Ideally real Christians are different from others, not by degree but in kind. They have God in their lives whilst others do not. Because they have God they have a bent towards walking in righteousness – a proactivity towards purity and holiness – and when they fail, which often happens, they feel it and know it. As any kind of sin causes a rift in their relationship with God.

But here’s the rub: though they know what it is to be holy, they cannot be holy by direct effort. That’s a job which is God sized. If we are to master our lustful passions, it will be done through His empowering our weak lives. There is no other way.

I like the following explanation given by the late C.S. Lewis. He wrote. “Put right out of your head the idea that…Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out – as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, is here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much of a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, who is really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for a moment. Then for long periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity.”

Turning us into “a different sort of thing” takes time – actually a lifetime. What God wants is for us to give Him our bodies, so He can begin the process right now. It’s not what we make of ourselves that matters, but what God is making us by the power of His Holy Spirit. You might say that we’re a work in progress and will remain so until we go to God or until He comes to us. Then and only then will His work be done.

We can only see life piece-meal – like a bug working its way along a clothesline. God sees what we will be when we get to the end of the line. Until that day comes we must keep inching along making a little progress every day, upheld by His faithfulness, assured by His forgiveness and encouraged by His promise that we will someday be what He has called us to be.

The Bible reminds us in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 24: “The one who calls you is faithful,” Paul assures us, “and He will do it.”

John.

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