Monday, May 31, 2010

What does it take to really change? (part deux)

I've been thinking more about this, and the lovely Carol mentioned something we must remember: the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Good point! Immediately some New Testament verses came to mind -- we can have a new life because of Christ's resurrection (Romans 6:4), we'll be saved if we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 10:9), our lowly body will be made like his glorious body (Philippians 3:20). That he was put to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25) is also relevant.

Without the forgiveness of sins and the hope of resurrection, it's -- well, it's probably an exaggeration to say that we're reduced to psychological self-help, but really, if we forget the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, aren't we just getting back onto the self-improvement treadmill?

And all the insights we get from psychology and sociology and introspection, all the brilliant words we hear at conferences and read in books and articles -- all of this stuff may be terrific, but as Paul writes, "If the dead are not raised, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (1 Corinthians 15:32, quoting Isaiah).

So, besides the earnest desire and commitment to change (which I mentioned earlier) we at least need to keep in view the bounteous grace and mercy of our Lord, who though he was rich became poor for our sake (2 Cor. 8:9) --

and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Ephesians 1:19-23
If we forget to remember these things, our self-improvement efforts are doomed. Did not our Lord say, "apart from me you can do nothing"?

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