Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Redemption and Conversion
"Oswald Chambers said that conversion is a human act -- turning away from sin, and a sinful lifestyle. Redemption, however, is something that is received. God does it for us. He wrote that too many so-called Christians have not gotten beyond conversion -- they have joined a church, and given up some old habits, but they have not yet received anything from God, and are satisfied as they are.
Conversion is a gift and an achievement. It is the act of a moment and the work of a lifetime. You cannot attain salvation by disciplines—it is the gift of God. But you cannot retain it without disciplines. If you try to attain salvation by disciplines, you will be trying to discipline an unsurrendered self. You will be sitting on a lid. The result will be tenseness instead of trust. “You will wrestle instead of nestle.” While salvation cannot be attained by discipline around an unsurrendered self, nevertheless when the self is surrendered to Christ and a new center formed, then you can discipline your life around that new center—Christ. Discipline is the fruit of conversion—not the root." E. Stanley Jones
A further illustration of God's love and grace is demonstrated by the fact that we can't even willfully turn from sin and turn to Christ without God's initiation, so the whole thing is one huge act of Grace from start to finish....."No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44
To watch the conversion and redemption process in someones life is to witness a true miracle of our modern day. When you begin to see changes in your own life that you know deep down could only come with the help of God, that's a miracle. When you look back at where you started and see how far you have come....that's Gods Grace. When you realize how far you still have to go, that's Grace again. Jesus did the hard part, but now we follow in His steps, however haltingly, yet we have the assurance of victory at the end of the race.
"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:21-25