Practical Christianity: Part Two
Out in the country there is a well that used to have good, cold water in it. Today it is dry. But the old pump still stands over the well. Would you go to the pump and work the handle up and down all day long, day after day? Of course not! Only an insane person would do that. When we pump, we want to pump water, not just air.
God did not save us just in order to be doing something. There was a real reason for His saving us. If He had not had a reason, it would be like pumping at a dry well. But God's purpose is a very wonderful one. You remember the story of Peter. At the beginning he was very quick-tempered, and always getting into trouble. He was a coward, too, afraid to confess his Lord even before a servant girl. But afterwards Peter became brave, and was not afraid to be beaten and put in prison for Jesus' sake. He had become more like Jesus. Romans 8:29 tells us that His purpose in choosing us is to conform us to the image of Christ, which is just another way of saying that He is going to make us like Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfect and we are surely far from perfect. What is God's way of making us like Jesus?
The first thing He does for us is to save us by His blood. We are sinners and have an old nature that is full of sin and cannot do anything to please God. So God sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross for us and shed His blood to make our hearts clean. That is the beginning of His work of making us like Jesus for when He takes our sin away, He gives us His righteousness which is just like the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But even after our hearts have been made clean, we often sin. We need cleansing every day. You have to wash your hands many times a day, even if you have scrubbed them in the morning. God keeps on cleansing our hearts with the blood of Christ, day by day. In 1 John 1:7 and 9 you will find verses that tell about this.
We cannot see Jesus today, but it is by looking at Him that we are made like Him. But that is impossible, you say. How can we look at Him if we cannot see Him? Take your Bible and look at 2 Corinthians 3:18. There we read that as we behold in a glass (a mirror) the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image. Sometimes you look into a mirror that is placed just right and can see things around a corner, or behind you. So we see Jesus by looking in a mirror and that mirror is the Bible. Every time we read the Bible it is looking at Jesus for He is the One about Whom the whole book is written. You try it and see. Read His Word, and God will make you more like Him.
Then, too, we have the Holy Spirit in us to do this work. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that it is done" as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Talking with the Lord Jesus will make you more like Him, too. He loves you and wants you to pray to Him. Prayer will change you and make you more like Him.
- How does God make us more like Jesus? Explain.
- Why did God the Father need a substitute for our atonement?
- Describe the "old nature". What is it? Why is it so bad?
- What does it mean to "look to Christ"?
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