The Objective

But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND YET DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:20-32

Godís investment in people who see and respond to what He did in Jesus Christ exceeds comprehension! No matter how deeply we love our spouses, our children, our country, or our fondest relationships, we will never, never approach Godís selfless investment in us. We cannot fathom the depth of love God has for people!

The question: If we know God has this enormous love for us, how do we demonstrate our appreciation for His incredible love expressed by giving us Jesus Christ? Answer: we willingly are transformed.

How? We see what we were in sin. We see what we can be in Christ. We commit to being the person we can be in Christ. We adopt and imitate Godís values.

If we are deceived, we speak truth because we value people. We refuse to be ruled by anger. Instead of exploiting others by stealing, we help those in need. Our words encourage instead of discourage. We do not resist Godís influence in our lives. Instead of being ruled by the negative emotions of ill will, we are kind. Godís kindness shown in His tenderness and forgiveness in Jesus is our supreme example. As those who benefit from being in Christ, we are committed to ďgodlikenessĒ in character and integrity. That is not what we have to be; it is what we want to be!

Those who grasp Godís love in Jesus respond to Godís love in Jesus by committing to transformation. By being transformed we encourage others to be transformed.

Romans 12:1,2
THEREFORE I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
 

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 8 January, 2009

 

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