Your quiet time companion
A Devotional Thought
" The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who wins souls is wise. " Proverbs 11:30 Being a Christian is about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not just about being a better person than you think you are, it is about being a 'righteous' person. " The Person who is put right with God through faith shall live " Romans 1:17
It is not about doing more good than bad. It is about coming to know Jesus such that one’s life is made new by God. It is not a sticking plaster solution but a complete reformation of one’s life that is required. A reformation that comes about not through one’s own efforts but because of God’s total transformation of one’s life by grace through faith brought about by God’s Holy Spirit imparting to the individual that new life from above which is Christ in us the hope of glory.
Being a Christian is not simply the acknowledgement that there is a God. It is knowing God through faith in Jesus Christ, which comes about as God’s Holy Spirit convicts and converts and makes real to us God’s truth such that we are ‘ never the same again’. Such that thereby one’s life is opened up to the dynamic of God’s working within and we are spiritually ‘born again’ and become a new person in Christ from that day forth.
Being a Christian is a difference of relationship to God, a difference of being, as God by his grace makes real in us what Christ has done for us and, a difference of purpose as one’s life takes on an entirely new direction and meaning, living now no longer for self but for Him who died for you, rose again and one day will return to establish His Kingdom in our midst forevermore.
Once lost we have found now the Way. Once disbelieving we now know the truth. Once dead in sin we now have received Eternal Life. Jesus who once was so unreal now sets us apart and authenticates our life as one of his own as a believer as a Christian.
Now I know who I am. I know that my life does matter. I have a significance beyond my greatest expectations. I can make a difference. My life counts. For I have been changed by God and for God who now moulds my life according to his purposes and makes me like Christ.
When Jesus was called ’good teacher’ by a certain rich Jewish leader he replied " why do you call me good. No one is good but God alone." Luke 18:19. When Nicodemus came to him Jesus told him straight John 3:3: " No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again" Isaiah tells us, " all our righteousness is as filthy rags " (A.V.)
What is required is not that we do more good but that we recognise that we can never as we are be good enough. We cannot earn salvation we can only receive it as a gift from God. Our lives cannot be put right by trying to be better, we need to be changed not corrected, we need redemption not simply a repair job.
Therefore, we must confess that we are sinners. We must recognise that only God can make us what we should be. He alone can put our lives to right. He alone can save us and remake us to be like Christ, out of the greatness of His mercy, through forgiveness, by repentance and faith to bring us into that new and living relationship that is his gift of new life for us in Christ because of what He accomplished for us by his death upon the Cross to save us from our sin.For on the Cross Christ reconciled man to God, on the Cross He made atonement for our sins. On the Cross He laid down His life out of love for us that he might lift us up redeeming us through His shed blood, a substitute for us and sacrifice for our sins, so setting us free to be His own. Adopting us into His family such that we are no longer slaves to sin but heirs of righteousness, sons and daughters of the Faith. For we have been ‘ bought with a price ’, ‘ saved by grace ’, ‘ justified by faith ’ ‘ created new ’ by God such that we should be like Christ.
Being a Christian is not thus about making ourselves a little better, the same as we have always been but trying harder to be good. It is rather about being entirely different people. ‘ a new creation in Christ ’ The most excellent that God can make us, for He would have us be like Jesus and that can only be if and when we come by faith to the foot of the Cross, acknowledge that Jesus died there for us, believe in Him and accept Him as Saviour and Lord of our lives. - That means conversion not just a moral touch up job, for we can never redeem ourselves. - That means commitment to live the live of faith so that through renewal and sanctification of the Holy Spirit our lives may be changed. - And that means conformity obedience to his will and a firm and faithful determination to fulfil those purposes for which we have been saved
A conversion, a commitment and a conformity that should then be evidenced in a marked growth in new life character, a marked giving of ourselves to others out of love in his name and a marked going to where he sends us that we might bring others to Christ.
We are to become more like Christ, we are to give of ourselves to others as Christ gave of himself sacrificially for us and we are to seek to make disciples of all nations that others too may come to know of God’s salvation in their lives.
Will that be true of you in this new year ahead? I do hope so!