Friday, October 13, 2006
Faithful to Complete It
Dan and I are in the process of reading a book entitled, How People Change by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp. It is part of a Bible Study we are about to embark upon by the same title. We are supposed to have read the entire book by Tuesday when we meet, but life hasn't afforded either of us the opportunity to read that extensively. I have thoroughly enjoyed the chapters I have read so far and anticipate great things from this study.
This morning I was reading chapter 3 and it was discussing where God is taking you. In the midst of all our problems, it is easy to want the circumstances to change, or the people involved to change, or even our attitudes to change, without a view of eternity. Here is how the authors describe what it will look like when we reach Heaven and our sanctification will be complete:
Listen carefully to the saints who are looking back at earthly life. As they consider all that they experienced, what do they celebrate?
These fellow pilgrims could celebrate a good job, a beautiful house, friendly neighbors, a happy marriage, physical health, and many other things. These are all good things and it is apropriate to be thankful for them. But the saints on the other side are celebrating none of them. As they stand before the Lord, crowned and reigning with him, their restoration is complete. God has finished his work of transforming their lives as he transformed thier hearts by his grace. As they stand before him, they are like him in true righteousness and holiness.
And so they rise in a crescedo of worship and celebration saying, "You did it! You did it! You did what we could not do for ourselves. You broke our bondage to sin and restored us to be the willing worshipers you created us to to be." The most important thing happening in your life right now is not that new house or new job. It is not your professionional success or the love of a friend. The one thing worth celebrating for all eternity is your redemption. By God's grace, you are being progressively delivered from the one thing that can completely destroy you: sin. But God not only delivers you, he restores you. He is making you a partaker of his divine nature.
There will be a day when you stand before God's throne. You won't be anxious with shame or fearful with guilt. As you stand before him, you will be like him because his grace made you a participant in his divine nature. In that moment, you will not be celebrating the physical gifts of earth-bound life. Your heart will overflow with the realization that God has been victorious. The battles of change and growth are forever past. The final destination is his presence and throne room. Together, dressed in white robes of righteousness and crowned with glory, we will celebrate the one thing worth living for: the Lamb and his salvation. This is where God is taking you.
That was powerful to me. Although I will never be free from sin in my earthy life, God is completing the work He started in me. I pray that as I see and experience change in my own life, I will remember the work of the One who initiated it and glory in the fact that His death and resurection brings about the completed work that we will all experience on the final day. With this in mind, it is much easier to give God the glory for change, instead of hogging all the credit for ourselves and our "hard work". It is only by His grace that any of us can experience change.