Paul in Romans teaches that all humans have a sinful nature that wars against God and others. One of the most beautiful truths of Christianity is the transforming power of God’s grace! Have you ever wondered why some of Jesus’ teaching(s) in the Gospels seem hard if not impossible to live out? Today’s thoughts come from Sept. 25, Oswald Chambers’ devotional “The Go of Relationship.”
The Prophets promised that God would change hearts. Ezekiel 36:26 and Jeremiah 31:31-32 promise a New Covenant. For more explanation:
The apostle John proclaims this great truth in chapters 1 and 3. Jesus would be the one to initiate the transformation that only God can do: rebirth and new life from above! Quotes and explanations to follow.
Quote 1: Jesus’ teachings
“Our Lord’s teachings can be summed up in this: the relationship that He demands for us is an impossible one unless He has done a supernatural work in us.”
Frankly, it’s not possible to live according to God’s Ways without His presence! We can’t do it by or through our human nature. Only God can change our hearts and empower us to live in His way! It’s His grace not our efforts that matter!
Quote 2: When God changes our nature
“The Sermon on the Mount is not some unattainable goal; it is a statement of what will happen in me when Jesus Christ has changed my nature by putting His own nature in me. Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount.”
Have you ever been frustrated when reading God’s Word and you realize how short you are in living accordingly? Perhaps that’s the point of Jesus’ teachings: that we can’t live for or with God apart from Him!
Quotes 3 & 4: God’s supernatural grace
“If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must be made disciples supernaturally. . . That is the way the grace of God begins. It is a constraint that we can never escape; we can disobey it, but we can never start it or produce it ourselves. We are drawn to God by a work of His supernatural grace, and we can never trace back to find where the work began.”
Chambers refers to John 15:16 wherein Jesus reminds the Disciples that He chose them. I was watching Sam Allberry’s sermon at Fellowship Baptist Church, Jackson, TN when something he said reminded me of an important truth.
He mentioned that John wrote in his gospel account that he was the disciple that Jesus loved. Pastor Sam reminds us that John defined himself as the one whom Jesus loved. This wasn’t arrogant or vain! John defined himself by Jesus’ love for him! Jesus’ love transformed John and others. Do you find meaning and purpose in God’s love for you?
“Our Lord’s making of a disciple is supernatural. He does not build on any natural capacity of ours at all. God does not ask us to do the things are naturally easy for us–He only asks us to do the things that we are perfectly fit to do through His grace, and that is where the cross we must bear will always come.”
God’s love transforms us!
Article discussed below:
History records John as being the Apostle of Love. Legend has it that as an old man John was carried around to speak to groups of believers. His message was simple: God loves, love God, and love others. John writes about these themes in 1 John particularly emphasizing that to know God through Jesus is to be changed! John’s temper and passion earned him and his brother James the nickname “Sons of Thunder.” The early Christians were known for their radical love and compassion for others.
The only way that anyone can change is through personally experiencing Christ. John personally testifies through his biblical writings that to know Christ is to be transformed! We can have peace and assurance in God’s love! His love redeems and renews us. Once we experience His love then we desire to share His love with others!
May God encourage you as fill your life to overflow with His love and grace,