TransformedLife

“Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness ofour God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble…” ~ 2 Peter 1:1-10

If your spiritual life is concentrated only on external practices and traditions, but does nothing to bring about real change, you have gained nothing. Too many people think as long as they keep the fasting rules, do their prayers, and attend the services, they are “good” Christians. Yet if there is no love, no charity, and forgiveness of others, and your life is filled with gossip and judgement, your Christian faith is worth nothing.

Christ condemned the Pharisees not because they kept the law and attended to the traditions of the Jewish faith, but because they did so while filled with pride and arrogance. Without sincere repentance and holiness of life, their encounter with God led to an emptiness of heart.

Because our Christian faith, regardless of it’s expression, is one of tradition and liturgical structure, it is easy to fall into the trap of being nothing more than a Pharisee. Being strict in one’s observance of your “Christian” practices can easily lead to pride and arrogance. If you find yourself feeling better than others and proud of your piety, you have gained absolutely nothing. The external practice of the Christian faith without love, heartfelt humility and repentance leads down the road of spiritual ruin.

The Church is the hospital of the soul, but healing can only come if we can recognize our own need for healing. If your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition but you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, you will not get well. Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross has provided all that you need for spiritual transformation, but healing only comes if you repent of your sins, and place your faith and trust in Him. This begins the healing process.

The goal is holiness (the righteousness of God in Christ) and is the direct result of our having submitted in all humility to a life of repentance. When you do this Christ changes you through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you simply go through the motions of your Christian faith, you are no better off than the Pharisees whom Christ condemned.

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