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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being Changed by Christ Daily

Romans 8:28-29 (NIV) 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

I wasn't saved so that I would stay in my same condition until I died and went to heaven. I was saved so that I would be conformed to the image of Jesus. Even this was not simply so that God could have a bunch of Jesus clones running around. Becoming like Jesus is the goal of my life. There is an image of what I am to become that God has seen before the beginning of time which He is knitting together through all the things that happen to me.

Many times I hear people say that they can't understand why God would allow bad events to happen to those whom He has called His own. Why doesn't He protect His children from everything evil? The same question my be phrased, "Why does God allow for free will?" Sin entered the world and corrupted creation. Fallen creation is full of things that will go wrong and cause bad things to happen to God's people. God's character is such that He allows this free will of creation. He did so in the Garden of Eden and He will do so in our own gardens. But God's plan goes beyond allowing evil to totally destroy the creation He made as good. God comes before and after these bad things to make something good. He uses all things to bring His children to become like His Son.

Lately, I have been looking at the character which believers should possess. I find that this character is the same as Christ. We are to love like He loves (John 13:34-35), forgive as He forgives (Luke 17:3-4), and give ourselves as He gave Himself (Philippians 2:1-11). Our lives would be nothing but frustration and defeat if it were not for His actions to conform us. Our willingness to be changed by Him and obey in everything He leads us into will bring about our conformation. We are pressed into His mold and we become like Him.

I heard many preachers cry out, "Let go and let God!" I have found that this is an incomplete story for I find my effort is not in simply releasing what I have but also fixing my eyes on Him. The effort is greater when all hell is breaking loose around me. I still come closer to Him when the cries of another crisis call me to focus on it.

Each of the events in every day of the believer are designed to bring the believer closer to the image of Christ if the believer will simply continue to call on Jesus as Lord. The continued obedience will enhance the believer's love for Jesus. The resolve will bring the believer into greater faith as he sees His Lord take those things which were bad and good and use them for his good. He will see the futility of living like the world and the glory in living for his Lord.

Today, it seems as if the world will continue toward evil. The news of today will contain bad and good things but the general atmosphere will have very little to do with God and His kingdom on earth. But even as hell seems to prevail, God is bringing His children into the likeness of His Son.

Today it seems as if the world will never acknowledge Jesus as Lord but there will come a day when all creation will.

"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11)

Even creation itself will be restored to what God originally created.

It is here that I am today, being changed daily by who He is, what He commands and the things He allows into my life. It is being changed daily though hell reigns around me, though satan roars like a lion to make me cower, though I am called to leave my Lord to "save" myself.

Oh, I can't say that I have arrived nor that I am almost there. This is not my call. I am not a good judge to know how far I have traveled. I just know I am being changed for God's glory. Praise be to Him who is not yet finished with me!

Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus..

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

You know, Philippians 1:6 is my baptism verse. It was given me by the Senior Pastor of the church. And I will always remember that God is NOT yet finished with me.

I have NOT arrived, NOT perfected, and is still on the Highway of Holiness, the prophet Isaiah talked about in Isaiah 35:8-10; we, believers, all of us, are. When we stay humble, and understand that we are still BEING transformed, and must work with God for that, then we have less chance of being lured off the Highway.

Ps Prentis, good entry; full of good mature (Christian) themes.

You see, the picture painted here by Ps Prentis, and the various ones in Scripture, are telling us that we are BEING conformed to the likeness of Jesus. It is NOT we had become Jesus. There is a teaching going round, saying that when God sees us, He sees only Jesus. Initially, it is refreshing to hear this, but when it is being pushed to the extreme, it became a distortion of how God views us while we live in our present lives. And I want to speak against it.

It is better to say that God sees the blood of Jesus, when He sees you. God sees you, the you, and NOT Jesus; the real you, complete with your reasons, emotion, and passion, and your strengths and weaknesses, your idiosyncrasies and all; the short you, and fat you. No, no, in your born again, God is NOT using a similar method He used, to form Man the very first time; now in your born again, God did NOT put Jesus in box, and you in another, and connect the 2 boxes together, and cast a spell, "Abracadabra, I have just zapped Jesus into Anthony Chia; now I have 2 Jesus, no more Anthony Chia." Please it is NOT like that; you are still you, He only put His Spirit to indwell you, and that makes you different from Adam, and that is primarily why you are called a new creation (I believe preaching of new creation of a born-again should primarily be premised on this – we, believers are new creation because we are different from the first creation, Adam, for we are now with the indwelling Holy Spirit, when Adam was without).

You see, if you view yourself as Jesus, then you will end up agreeing with the all the overly grace teachings out there concerning sins, confession, repentance, forgiveness, and need to effort to live righteous. That is what these misguided preachers are telling us: we cannot sin (there is such a phrase in Bible, but the interpretation is NOT we cannot as in we are unable or it is impossible for us to sin), we are god (as in God is god, and deity; no, ye are NOT god!), we cannot become unrighteous, we do not need to confess sins, we do not need to ask for forgiveness, and we, since we are righteous already, we do not need to effort to live righteous. Of course, I do NOT need to do all of these, if I am Jesus, but I am NOT Jesus. Are you Jesus? Think again; when God sees you, He sees you; when God sees me, He sees the ugly me, but He also sees the blood of Jesus, and He says in His heart, "I love you, and if you allow me, I will make you more and more beautiful."

By the way, in this context, what is beauty in the eyes of God? Venture a guess! My take is righteousness! Ultimately God can only love Man unto righteousness (`ahab love).