Sunday, March 28, 2010

Change We Can Believe In

Sorry that I haven't kept up with my blogs, recently. With my current job coming to a close in a month, I've been really busy wrapping up my work there and looking for new employment. And since my brain has a hard time staying focused on more than a couple things at a time, blogging has taken a back seat.

You probably recognize this blog's title as one of our current President's campaign slogans. While I'm not here to discuss the recent passing of the health care bill or the way Mr. Obama has been leading this country, I thought his old slogan was quite appropriate for the real subject of this post (and it's not French money, either!).

Mainstream Christianity often says that God loves us just as we are. We can be free to be ourselves and know that as long as we believe in Jesus, we are assured a home in Heaven. And no matter what we do, what mistakes we make, or what sins we commit, Jesus will greet us with open arms.

While there is some truth in those statements, it is not the whole truth.

God is not some giddy schoolgirl, infatuated with the hunky guy in the third row; He knows the corrupt hearts of men. When He created Adam, He was not a dreamy-eyed boy, receiving his very first puppy, and utterly unaware of the responsibilities and challenges of taking care of it. He knew full-well what He was in for. He knew all the heartache mankind would bring Him. He knew that one day soon, all too soon, He would have to hang on a blood-stained cross, for His creation. He knew all this, and yet went through with it, because He had a purpose and a plan for us.

The truth is that God is a god of change. He designed us in His image and wants us to be more like Him. He also provided us the catalyst and the power to change, by allowing His Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of His children.

Mainstream Christianity says that if we just believe in Christ, we will be saved. But there is so much more implied in that. Jesus said that unless we repent and become as little children, we cannot be saved. In fact, He told Nicodemus that we must be born again; we must be born of the Spirit, in order to gain eternal life. Paul says that if a man is in Christ, he is a new creation, that old things have passed away, and all things become new. I imagine a larva going into its cocoon and coming out a butterfly.

God is a god of change.

This is apparent even in human physiology. Are we born fully grown (as Adam and Eve were), able to walk, talk, and reason? No. We enter this world entirely weak and helpless, utterly dependent on others for our very survival. It then takes us a good couple decades to mature into fully functional members of society, able to bear the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood.

Likewise, Paul says that we must mature in Christ. The life of the saved is one of constant change. We grow not only in the knowledge of the Holy, but also in righteousness, as the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts. We must not remain in the sins of our youth (literal and figurative). We must believe that God has the power to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and form us into His Holy image.

There is more, so much more, to all this. I will address it again, in my upcoming study of Paul's epistle to the Romans.