By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
Several years ago, I did a study through the gospels, taking special notice of every time someone encountered Jesus and their response to Him. Some people left Jesus rejoicing, some enraged, still others left perplexed. There were multiple responses to encounters with Jesus but no one left an encounter with Jesus unchanged.
A genuine encounter with the King of Glory changes you. If one chooses their pride they might leave hardened and more firmly in the grip of their own sin. When one experiences and comes to understand the beauty and wonder of God’s grace toward them, trusting Him as Master and Savior, they are changed forever and made a new creature in Christ.
When God saved me something changed forever inside me. I went home looking the same but something inside me was irrevocably and incredibly transformed.
Paul is describing the natural impact of this supernatural power at work in us that changes our hearts and brings a mighty change in our attitude and actions. He works through some of the attitudes and actions that once marked the lives of these believers and how grace destroys our old habits and replaces them with godly habits.
First, he says that they would have put away falsehood. Christians are people of the truth, our God is the God of truth. We have believed the truth and we tell the truth, we are marked by truth.
Next, he describes the former slave to anger. It’s not sinful to be angry but it is foolishly dangerous to walk in anger and to sit in anger. Outrage is the economy of our day, we are a people addicted to being offended and angered. If you must be angry, don’t act in anger and don’t stay angry long because you’re primed for Satan to work when you’re angry if you’re not careful.
Third, the thief was marked by taking from others because of his own selfishness and laziness. Moved by grace, he should now work hard to share with others in their need. The man marked by disparaging remarks, known for tearing others down doing harm to the Body of Christ and grieving the Spirit of God, should now use that same tongue that once tore down to build others up in the Lord.
As members of the same body in Christ we should no longer be marked by selfish, shameful attitudes and actions but the same grace that transforms our relationship with Christ transforms our relationship with each other.
May God bless us that we might only be as good to others as He Himself has been to us. If I could get that right it might just change the world, or at least it would change my world.