Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grace - out of the hearts of my frieds

First on the list of my highly regard friends has to be Major W. Ian Thomas as he became the guiding light I needed to really explore the scriptures.  I met him once, at the First Baptist church in Orlando and we chatted together for a few minutes.  I was intent on letting him know how he had set my life on a much higher plane than I had bee travelling up until then.

Then, as I paused in the steps of the church in leaving, I noticed another man standing a few feet away and I walked over to greet him, commenting on Major Thomas'.  "Yeah, he replied, " I have heard him before.  My wife likes him."  As I walked to the parking lot, I met the fellow parked next to me and asked, "How did you like Major Thomas?"  "He's OK, but have you ever heard of James Robinson?"  James Robinson!  I had remembered James from Dallas, TX, who was on a campaign to humiliate homosexuals, in my opinion.  I had attended one of his meetings and I was astounded as to how he seemed attracted to a few verses in the Bible that I had always thought to be commentaries on the lives of people living in those times.  I knew many homosexuals and prayed for them as I would pray for others, but his words were enough to make me avoid him for years.  And comparing his message to those offered by my friend, Major Thomas, it was more than I wanted to consider.

With those thoughts in mind, I now open the pages of The Saving Life of Christ and am met with his thoughts.  "There is something which makes Christianity more than a religion, more than a ethic, and more than a idle dream of the sentimental idealist.  It is this something that makes it relevant to each one of us - right now, as a contemporary experience.   It is the fact that Christ Himself is the very content of the Christian faith.  It is He who makes it "tick".

"Faith is He who that calleth you, who will also do it."  (I Thessalonians 5:24)  The One who calls you is the One who does that to which He calls you,  "For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure."  (Philippians 2:13)   He is Himself the very dynamic of all of His demands.

Now wait, don't race on to read what else he might claim.  Those are not just idle words.  They are action words. and having done all that was needed for His readers to realize it, this is our calling.  You have a choice - to respond now.  Notice, He is not calling us to action in this hour.  He is calling - all of us to respond to His reality.  I know.  When I first actually read the words of His call, I kept on going along the path I had been following for nearly forty-five years, but it seemed as though I had missed a sign post along the way. I had.  Didn't the scriptures remind me, "...if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Continuing on with Major Thomas's thoughts, he says, Christ did not die simply that you might be saved from a bad conscience or even to remove the stain of past failures, but to clear the decks for divine action.  You have been told that Christ died to save you.  That is gloriously true in a very limited sense.  In Romans 5:10, we read, "If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." 

Now, please, listen carefully to the thought that has it changed my entire perspective on the Christian life.  The Lord Jesus therefore ministers to you in two distinct ways - He reconciles you to God by His death, and saves you by His life.

I have met literally hundreds of people insisting they are Christian, but their reasoning is that they were "saved" at such and such church, on such and such day and they prove this by insisting they still go to church. When I remind them that I too have been "saved" by that very same process a number of times, but nothing really happened until the day I heard the Lord speak to me through the scriptures, Acts 1:8, that taught me, ".. you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be my witnesses, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth."  I like to say that since I knew I probably would never be in Jerusalem, nor Judea, not even Samaria, I would concentrate my "ministry" in the remotest parts of the earth.  So far, I have spent most of my time in Florida and Tennessee.  Some tell me, that should qualify me.

As we travel this road together, I have much more of Major Thomas's thoughts to share with you, but as we move along, I will continue to share with you how his thoughts have enhanced my life and in the process, proves to me that - contrary to so many reports, the church of Jesus Christ is more relevant today than it ever has been.

As they used to say, "Cya later, alligator."  Maybe they still do.  This is do know without a doubt, The Saving Life of Christ has set there idle on too may bookshelves for too long.

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