- Stephen D Blum Jr
Becoming like Jesus...
Back in my “Full Gospel” days there was a unspoken assumption that we were on an inside track with the Lord, that we had something the Baptists and others didn’t. Oh, sure, they had your basic salvation, but we had so much more! Near the end of our Pentecostal journey, my dad used to say “I just want to be saved”. It used to irritate me when he said that. “Who could be satisfied with merelybeing saved” I’d mutter to myself, “when he could have so much more?”
But now, after many years of failure at being a “good” Christian, I am just beginning to understand just how big of a deal it is to have your sins forgiven.
When I was a new Christian I exulted in the Father’s love for me! I totally took the teachings of my first pastor at face value when he said “trust Jesus to save you”. That new-found exuberance that caused so many of the older Saints to roll their eyes and smile also made me a terrible threat to the enemy. I wanted to talk about Jesus, sing about Jesus - everything revolved around Him! And that’s how it’s supposed to work. As Jesus thru his Holy Spirit takes up residence in the new convert he is transformed! But as time passed and I rubbed shoulders with an increasing number of church people I came to believe that I was saved by willpower, by my willpower choice to believe, followed by successive
willpower choices to be obedient, and thus ALLOWING God to actually DO things on the earth through me. Instinctively I understood the unspoken premise that my willpower was the center of my - and the worlds- salvation. What Jesus had done on Calvary was awesome, but wasn’t the bottom line, for if I didn’t obey, if I didn’t do “my part”, Jesus’ part was irrelevant. MY PART was the only part that could change the outcome.
Now I am old, and after many years of trying (and failing) at “my part”, I have come to see that God all along had done it all and prepared for every eventuality in my life. Before I was even born He predestined me (Ephesians 1:4), and that was only the beginning:
"Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Romans 8:30.
God who begins the salvation process by choosing us “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), then calls, justifies (at Christ’s cross), ultimately takes us to Himself and we are glorified with Him! He even puts our glorification in the present tense, as though it was a done deal!
The faith that I placed in Him was a gift (Philippians 1:29, Ephesians 2:8, 9, 1 Corinthians 4:7, Acts 11:18)!
I came to see that “my part” and “His part” were the same part! I came to see that my Father forming “Christ in me” was His purpose, that God really was working in me “to will and to DO what pleased Him (Philippians 2:13)! Jesus really had come into my life all those years ago, and was working His way from the inside to the out!
He was, and is, and will save me from my sins just like the angel told Mary (Matthew 1:21) He would! Nowadays when some well-meaning brother throws my salvation in my lap I freeze up. I’ve learned the hard way that I cannot save myself. Like Martin Luther, I don’t want free will! I want His will to consume me!
Preach Jesus! Brag about his power, his faithfulness, his glory, his ability to save to the uttermost, so that our hearts might be brimming over with love and faith, and the works WILL FOLLOW! Works follow FAITH- faith in Jesus!
You don’t get to Jesus by works (your faith is in your works), you get to works by Jesus (your faith is in Jesus)!!
"LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us" (Isaiah 26:12)
"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:28, 29)
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent-