Grace For The Journey
When I lose sight of my hope, I’m prone to believe lies. One lie I hear whispered frequently is, “I’ll never change,” that “I can’t change.”
It’s a lie completely contrary to the Gospel –
The good news that I can change,
Or rather that I can be changed.
Why is it after more than sixty years after God called me to Him, I can still find myself despairing, believing that I’m stuck as I am?
God’s Word is clear that
He is working to transform
Those He calls His own.
He’s making dead people alive;
He’s transforming His enemies
Into His children who share In the full inheritance of His Son;
He’s replacing hearts of stone
With hearts of flesh!
In Acts 9 we see a wicked man – a man with murderous intent – completely and radically changed. Saul sees a light and hears the Lord call him. God changes Saul’s heart, gives him life, and makes him into a new man: Paul. We all know what Paul went on to endure for the sake of the gospel – imprisonment, beatings, shipwrecks, martyrdom. He changed in a way that most people, maybe all people, would have never thought was possible.
My conversion story, and your conversion story, is the same as Paul’s. We were wicked and dead when God saved us and made us new. My conversion story is part of my favorite story, a small piece of God’s redemption plan of the world where He is restoring and reconciling and renewing.
Salvation means that we have been changed, and we are being changed even yet. Our affections are being ordered to love the things God loves. Our behavior is changing as we act more and more like Christ. Our ambition is changing as we desire less and less glory for ourselves and more and more for God.
Christians who share this salvation story
Of how God is at work in their lives
Are testifying to God’s goodness and sufficiency.
When I visit with people, I love to ask how they came to know Christ. How exciting, and what an encouragement I get, to hear how God revealed Himself to all kinds of people and saved them. He changed them and is changing them!
We need to tell these stories of our conversion
To remind us that God is working.
The Good News of the Gospel means that we can know God personally, learn and experience His salvation power, and grow and discover God’s sufficient grace for every situation and stage of life; that we are not stuck with who we are and as we are until the day we die.
When my daughters were young, often they would ask me, “Daddy, why do you always read and pray?” or “Why do you always have to go to church?” When we apply the term “always” or “never” to other people, we speak an untruth. Human beings don’t “always,” or “never” do anything. In our natural state we are not that consistent. We “frequently,” we “fairly regularly,” or we “often” do things, but we do not “always” or “never.”
As finite and sinful creatures,
We cannot lay claim to these terms,
They can only truly be spoken of God.
Only God is consistent in His nature and His action. He alone has the power to change us. When we believe the lie that we cannot, or will not change, we deny that God has the power to work in our lives. We are rejecting the truth that we can trust Him for salvation because of His steadfast, unchanging love.
We must come to believe and accept with the writer of Hebrews that “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, forever.” In Numbers 23, we hear God, declaring through Balaam, “God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that He should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?”
What great and glorious news this is!
When we are weary or defeated, let us be reminded and comforted with the words of A.W. Tozer:
“Our Heavenly Father never differs from Himself. In coming to Him at any time we need not wonder whether we shall find Him in a receptive mood …Neither does He change His mind about anything. Today, this moment, He feels toward His creatures, towards babies, toward the sick, the fallen, the sinful, exactly as He did when He sent His only-begotten Son in the world to die for mankind.”
Salvation, regardless of the details
Of the person’s life before Christ,
Is a dramatic story. It’s a story of change
That we need to share with each other
So that we wouldn’t forget who God is
And how he is faithful to us.
Truly, God is in the business of giving life,
Changing lives, and making all things new.
Sometimes we look at our live, or the lives of others, and wonder how things got that way and if it is possible for things to change. Sometimes, even to Christians, the message of the Gospel seems to good to be true. It is then that we find ourselves asking the age-old question, “Can bad guys really change?”
As we understand and live by
The power of the salvation we have in Jesus,
We can emphatically declare,
“All the time, man!. All the time!”
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”