Saturday, September 01, 2018

May people see Christ in this lump of clay

[From my morning quiet time with God today.]

I so identify with these words from the apostle Paul to the young preacher, Timothy: 
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

I am a sinner saved only by the grace of God given through Christ to those who trust in Christ. 
And while I will remain a sinner through my entire life, the good news is that God's grace in Christ is bigger than my sin. So big that, in this life, Christ makes saints of those who, this side of the resurrection, remain also as sinners in daily need of God's grace.
As I take refuge in Christ and my baptism in His name each day, turning from my sin and turning instead to Christ, I am covered by grace, forgiveness, and new life. 
Years ago, after I had returned to Christ following years of atheism, a friend told me, "You're different. Something's changed." It was true. Christ had changed me.
But He's not done changing me. 
He is changing me still. 
Thank God for that, because I am still so imperfect, still so inclined to follow the human default mode of selfishness, self-will, and sin.
Every day, the God revealed to all the world in Christ sends the Holy Spirit to fight on my behalf, so that I can hear God's Word of love and life and counsel and wisdom when I am tempted by sin or when I have already caved into its enticements. 
There are times, I confess, when I have turned and still turn a deaf ear to the Word and will of God.
But I have found that God always leaves the porch light on for returning prodigals, for children who know His grace and long to return. 
In fact, all we need do is respond to His call and turn and He comes running to, paraphrasing an eminent theologian, embrace us before the words of confession and repentance come from our mouths or are spoken silently in our minds. (Luke 15:11-32:…)
If people can see that Christ has saved and is still saving a wretch like me, has made me God's own dear child, has changed the ways I view God and others--through the eyes of divine love, and has both humbled and emboldened me with the promise that as He rose, I will rise, as He rules, so I, a sinner made a saint by grace, with Him...if people can see what Christ can do in the life of this imperfect lump of clay, then maybe they can see all that He can do for them. 
Although that's what I live for. 
To the God revealed in Christ alone be all the glory, honor, and praise.

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