Friday, January 12, 2007

Called To Be Saints

…who are loved by God and called to be saints…
(Romans 1:7 – ESV)

Christians are called saints (Ephesians 1:1); it isn’t some special designation given by men to other men because of what they have done. The Bible says that even our righteous deeds are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Those who are saved are all saints on account of Jesus Christ and His righteousness. All our good deeds are because of what He has done not what we have done.

Grace and peace to the saints; this is a standard opening of Paul’s. He states the fact that those who have been called saints are also called to be saints; that is those whom God called Paul knew by their faith – they acted like saints, not like aint’s (Romans 1:8 / Colossians 1:2-4). He calls them saints corporately, the group of individuals that God has called out for Himself, the saints.

These days we are committed first to results and relationships. But here Paul declares that we are first called to be saints, to God and His kingdom, not first to results or relationships, but to God. Of course this falling away started all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve chose results by Eve wanting what the fruit supposedly offered. Adam still had a choice to make, even after Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, but Adam chose his wife (relationships) rather than God (obeying His Word). This is why Christ said that we must put our relationship with God and His Word above any other relationship; He even described it as “hating” you father and mother as compared to God.

Jesus reversed this human tendency toward results and relationships by denying Himself. In His testing in the wilderness (Matthew 4 / Luke 4), imagine if He had turned the stones to bread. Satan would not have said, “aha!” he would have told Him to feed the world – results to the glory of the devil. But Christ knew the Word comes before the bread – John tells us that Jesus first taught them then fed them (John 6). Satan tempted Jesus in His relationship with the angels, and also with the results of gaining the world. But what will it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul (Mark 8:36)? Jesus knew the discouragement of having a ministry that didn’t seem to meet its goals (Isaiah 49:1-6), but He with was more interested in faithfulness than results, and He knew that God would reward Him (Philippians 2:9-11 / Hebrews 12:2).

The quest of results and relationships has clouded the judgment of the Church, and of individuals that ought to know better. The world in the church – look at the fruit of the Church Growth Movement – has the Church changed the world, or has the world changed the Church? They may get the whole world into their churches, but are the people transformed, or does that church become transformed? The churches are bigger than ever but full of unregenerate, unrepentant unbelievers. Instead of tares among the wheat we now have wheat among the tares.

We have got it backwards. They even speak of “transformational churches” these days. The Bible says that we are not to be conformed to this world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. The people are to be transformed by God, not the church being transformed by the world. They say that if we don’t adapt we will be left behind, but I say that if we do adapt we will be left behind all right, when the trumpet sounds at the Rapture, where the unspotted bride of Christ will be taken away (Ephesians 5:27 / Colossians 1:22). They say that if we don’t get with it that we will fade away. But my Bible says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever (Isaiah 40:8).” Again, I say, what profit a man, and we could say, the Church, to gain the world but lose its soul?

You are called to be a saint; how long before you answer the call?

7 comments:

One Sheep's Voice said...

From my very heart,I ponder my relationship with God Almighty, knowing that my relationship with my wife is very important to me. My relationship with the Father needs to far exceed that of what I have with my wife. Since I could no sooner hate my wife than I could hate my own life, that leaves but one conculsion! To God be the Glory forever and ever! Amen

Anonymous said...

Good post JD. This is something I have been pondering all week, in fact I have a little song about this very subject...some of it goes like this "Step away, turn around. Let Jesus set your feet back on solid ground. You can't live like the world and expect to be heaven bound. Step away, turn around." When I was driving to work Wednesday, the words came to me and I began singing. I know God wants me to consider where my heart is and to make sure I'm on the straight and narrow path. Thanks for the confirmation. Mom

PS. Did JR get home and is he and Marge ok?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

oops...I didn't read your second post from yesterday. Good news..glad they are back and that JR is improving. I will continue to pray for them. Mom

Even So... said...

That troll "unwanted spam commenter" happened because he is tagged to the word "rapture"...total kook...I'm sure he thinks we are too...in any event, please don't feed the trolls by responding to their drivel...

Even So... said...

Mom, that's wonderful...BTW, if the book comes early enough today, I may make the drive over to the coast to give you a copy...

:-)

jazzycat said...

J.D.
Good point. These churches are fast becoming mission fields. It puzzles me to see several thousand people meet to hear a 'preacher' talk about temporal concerns of health, wealth, and prosperity week in and week out.

thanks for the link to my blog.

W.H.