Changed!

The text was one of my favorite. At Northland, I remember listening spellbound as Dr. Dave Doran unpacked it and pressed the eternal truths to my heart. Despite the rumblings of my stomach as the message preluded lunch, I understood that to have a metamorphosis of my spiritual life, there needed to be a precedent of viewing and contemplated the glory of God in His revelation. 2 Corinthians 3:18 became a passage that swelled in the back of my mind.

This evening as I listened to Pastor Schlagel and heard that text expounded again for the first time since that college chapel morning, it again seeped into my soul and spilled its radiance of awe into my lap: the Word manifests THE WORD! Here is what I was reminded of: First, sanctification is a mandate to all believers, not to the one who claims some enlightened extra-biblical revelation and experience as some seem to teach, but any pure seeker may become transformed by studying THE WORD in the Word. Secondly, His grace is the means through which the believer’s life is sanctified as He works out His salvation in our lives. It is a gracious thing for a fallen creature to be redeemed and have the gift of life wholly set apart for Christlikeness. Thirdly, while my responsibility is to be submitted, the actual task of sanctification and transformation is energized and worked through the person of the Holy Spirit in my life. Therefore I need to be controlled by Him for this process of metamorphosis to occur in my life.

The text rung true in my mind. It is only through a surrendered life to the work of the Spirit as He navigates the Word into the twisted river of my life that transformation will happen. If I am not being transformed presently it is because I have failed to allow the text to change me! May God grant the grace to fasten this truth into our words and works!
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You’ll Never Have It Worse Than . . .

Dr. Ollila used to say that “as a believer you will never experience anything worse than what you face on this earth, and as an unbeliever you will never have anything better than what you have on this earth.”

Very true! This thought is a blessed hope for the Christian. The thought that the very worst thing I experience will fade into rapturous joy at my glorification is satisfying. It rings of the emphasis in the book of Hebrews to press on, for the city we look for is far greater than one made with hands. Of course, the most glorious thought is the hope of Christ when our faith shall be sight. What encouragement for those believers working through a temporary trial on this earth!

I thought of Dr. Sam Horn of Brookside Baptist Church and Northland Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, who found out this week, that his wife, who is relatively young, has been diagnosed with an advanced case of fast-moving cancer. Yet he addressed the local body of believers he pastors to not have pity for him, his wife, and their two young boys, but to see the glory of God being displayed through His wonderful plan for them. He grasped it. He understood that anything “bad” that happens to me is an opportunity to reveal His glory in all things and will only be for a little while.

How sad, however, for the unbeliever who does not have that hope, but lavishes his time and effort in building a life that will only last for a microscopic speck of eternity. He lives for his own pleasures and lusts, and even then is not satisfied but full of guilt. When hard times come he is driven to depression and the futility of what he has built upon. This is the best he will ever come to know.

What does the Biblical view of life do to me? It makes me grateful to the Lord. It makes me put life in perspective of eternity. It gives me a burden for the lost who need the answer of the hope that has been transplanted in my heart.

The question each of us need to ask ourselves is this: Does my life echo this hope of eternity, or is it smudged with the dinge of living for my flesh? Set your affections on things above for that is where your hope of glory lies!

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The True Focus of Separation

After a conference on prayer at the church I am a part of, it hit me. The focus of the sincere believer is concerned with separation from the world. Legitimately so, in one sense, because of passages like Romans 12:2 that are exhortations to not allow your identity to become pressed into the mold of the world. Yet, sitting there listening to the speaker plead with the audience for a closer walk with the Lord, I realized that separation from the world is a byproduct, a benefit. It is an effect and not a cause.

What is the cause then? The cause of separation from the world is simply separation to God. If man is passionate in his pursuit of the will of God by conforming his life to what his Master has commanded, the rest will follow. It is not a novel idea, but an easily ignored pursuit. The worth of our Christianity is our consecration to God. It is then that the enticements world will grow so strangely dim. Even the passage in Romans 12 concerning separation from the world recognizes this as Paul begins with the urge to submit to the will of God and renew the mind with His commands. The outflow of that process is verse 2 when he reminds them to be separate from the world system.

I think that, so often, Christianity in my circles has attempted to separate from the world without starting at the beginning. This has produced rebels, disgust, and has fostered an attitude of judgment and criticism in our churches .

I truly believe that when the church grasps the true focus of consecration to God, she will be unspotted from the world.

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