Saturday, January 17, 2009
The power of God to transform!
The first time I saw this movie almost 10 years ago I remember being so aware that my heart related so much to the character of Javert. It was like looking in a future mirror with shock and horror, and I was humbled by and drawn to the character of Jean Valjean. More so I was intrigued and haunted by the whole story played out in the movie. The clip above, was the first time I ever saw a glimpse of GRACE and MERCY demonstrated, the first time I saw one 'believe the best'....the fruit of the charachter's life later on in the rest of the movie makes so much sense to me now. I didn't understand it all but a hunger for true freedom had been awoken in me.
Today, something similar to what occurred in the clip above brought this whole scene back to memory and I have been asking questions.
How does grace (not law) work to change a man; a culture even?
Paul said: " I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith. (Romans 1:16)
"God made him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
The gift of righteousness sets people free from condemnation and then they become open to the power of God. And it is the one who embraces this gift and enters through salvation's birth canal who bears the fruit of righteousness. Christianity is not right DOING. It is right BELIEVING. Right believing will always lead to right doing! Those who are FORGIVEN MUCH, will LOVE MUCH!
"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." Galatians 6:1
How do we restore gently?
ALL have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.
God himself identified with us in our fallen condition when he came as a man and walked among us.
So we walk together with the broken...not alienating them, not pointing fingers and exposing flesh, but understanding that we too have been broken by the curse and it is only LOVE that has freed us. It is only grounded roots of love that produce foilage of beauty and the subsequent mouthwatering fruit of goodness.
Identity is always the issue. Let us tell them who they really are! The gospel proclaims for us all a picture of the finished work of Christ. If we want to give them real, positive, biblical hope, we must make them GOD conscious...not sin conscious, or problem conscious. Not past conscious, or future conscious. FOR He is a very PRESENT help in time of need! We must tell people that God is not holding their sins against them any more.
"For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin -- because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." (Rom 6:6-7)
And so we deal with darkness by releasing the light to shine, and do what it was meant to do:
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today. Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. (Luke 19 :1-10)