Friday 15 May 2009

A Living Faith #8 Change


The ways of Yahweh are unchanging and in an ever changing and uncertain world, we can derive great comfort from that knowledge. We know for certain that what He promises, that He will also do. As Malachi records, Yahweh says, "For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Mal 3:6). Therefore, if we desire reconciliation with our Creator, if we desire to attain His mercy and if we desire to be part of His purpose, then it is we who must change. Yet how hard that process of change can be!

Now thus far we have considered faith as something that must be a living and active force in our lives. Faith requires diligence and effort to sustain; it is not gained by a one off effort and once acquired, faith can be easily lost if it is neglected. Therefore patience and perseverance are required to sustain and develop faith. Further, a willing sacrifice of self and a humble acceptance of the absolute authority of Yahweh is also required, if faith is to be a living and active part of our daily lives. Obeying the Word, obeying the commandments and following the principles of God, must be the fulcrum around which our lives revolve.

Above all there must be a conscious recognition that not by our own strength or abilities will we gain a living faith. We have no inherent merit, we deserve only condemnation, but Yahweh has graciously extended His mercy toward us. He has demonstrated His willingness to count our faith as righteousness. More than this, He has invited His children to commune with Him through prayer. Thus active personal prayer is inseparable from faith. Yahweh will hear and answer sincere prayer that flows from a humble, contrite and honest heart.

With these thoughts in mind then, there is one further step for us to consider that will be an integral component of and arise from a living faith. An active faith will incorporate change and that change will ultimately be fundamental and far reaching in its extent.  Personal change is a product of having a living faith, there must be a complete renewing of the inner man. Paul writes:

“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:5-6

We committed ourselves to ‘putting off the old man’, that is the old self that is self seeking and to be renewed according to godly characteristics. No longer enslaved to sin, but freed to serve the Lord our God. If this inner change takes place, then having been united with Christ in the likeness of his death, we will be uplifted in the likeness of his resurrection.  The resurrection to life is certain, becuase this is the express promise of Yahweh. A living faith will trust and believe His word. Yet how often do we doubt? How often do we consider the prospect of failure, rather than the prospect of being part of the divine purpose? Yes, most certainly life is a gift that we do not merit. However, equally certain is Yahweh’s love and mercy towards those who love Him, those who trust and believe in His promises. Paul writes that in Christ:

“all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” 1Corinthians 1:20

Further through Paul the Spirit says:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

No condemnation! Free from sin and death! Now if those thoughts do not stir our highest emotions, our deepest gratitude and inspire a living active faith what will? A living faith will not see or contemplate failure, but rather be inspired to deny the flesh and live according to the spirit. It will desire above all things to be ‘Christ like’, being renewed in the inner man as Paul exhorts:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Rarely are Yahweh’s children asked to forfeit their life in His service. No, the sacrifice and inner change demanded is greater than this. The giving up of life involves the giving up of all that is held dear in the present and dedicating all to His service. A striving to develop attributes of character that are moulded in the image of our Creator.

The death of Christ was the culmination of a life of sacrifice. The more we behold the glory and character of the Lord Jesus, the more we mediate and reflect upon his example, then the more we will grow to be like him. If we are ‘Christ like’ then our lives will exhibit a similar life of sacrifice that is engendered by a living faith. Thus we read:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

Children of the light have nothing in common with and no fellowship with those in darkness. Consider the enormity of this wonderful promise:

"Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." 2Corinthians 6:17-18

The calling is to be separate and this will in no measure perturb those who have an active faith that desires above all to put the Commandments of Christ into action day by day. Indeed it will be their desire to keep apart from those who do not know the Lord and those who do not love and follow the Word.

They have noting in common with those who remain or stray into darkness. A living active faith desires one thing above everything, namely to know the Lord their God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. They desire to be in the image of their Creator and will shun all who do not have this image imprinted upon them. So Paul is moved to write:

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord”  2Corinthians 3:18

How wonderful, how gracious, how longsuffering, how merciful and how loving is Yahweh! May our response be the deepest desire to have a living faith that in some small, albeit imperfect way, reflects His divine glory.

Andy Peel

In this series:
A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
A living faith #2 State of your faith
A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
A Living Faith #4 Effort
A Living Faith #5 Perseverance
A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
A Living faith #7 Prayer
A Living Faith #8 Change
A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
A Living Faith #11 My place in the body of Christ and my ecclesia
A Living Faith #12 The Love for Jesus


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