Friday, November 23, 2012

The Purpose-Driven Light (The Gospel According to Isaiah, Part 4)

"Then said I, 'Here am I! Send me.'" Is. 6:8

It is not that we are just saved from damnation, though God knows that would be bounty enough. We have not simply been granted a free pass on Hell. What has also happened is a transformation: we have been made new, refashioned into a completely new creature. That is why salvation has sometimes been called "conversion". We often think of conversion as an intellectual realignment, but (if you remember your science books) it is actually more like a fundamental realignment. The very substance of our being has changed, and subsequently our desires and direction change. We have been set on a new path, given a new journey and new destination. I say "new" journey and destination, but it is really the old journey and destination: the journey of mankind walking with God deeper and deeper into God. Communion with God was our original purpose, a purpose lost and refound. It is only "new" to those of us who happen to be walking around at the moment.

The point cannot be stressed enough: in Christ we new life, not just a spot in heaven. That is the great truth of salvation: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things have become new. We are crucified with Christ, and yet we live; yet not us, but Christ who lives in us. And the life we now live in the body we live by faith in the Son of God. God has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son. Now we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. In times past we were not a people, but we are now the people of God; and because He who called us is holy, so we ought to be holy in all manner of living. For He died for us all that we who live should not henceforth live unto ourselves but unto Him who died for us and rose again.

Now our life is hid with Christ in God, and we are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Therefore we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, being not conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may discern what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might have life and life more abundantly. And herein is eternal life: that we might know Him, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (II Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:13; I Pet. 1:15, 2:9-10; II Cor. 5:15; Col. 3:3; II Cor. 6:16; Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 2:10; John 10:10, 17:3).

Christianity was never about fire escapes, and Jesus is so much more than a bus pass out of Hell. We have not just been called out of darkness, but also in to light. A living Light, full of purpose, and we are one with that purpose. We who are saved and being saved have a call, a commission, a meaning radically different from the ways of the world, for life ought not and cannot be the same once you are known of God.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

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