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A Sad Reality

I am often reminded of the sad reality that not every church member I shake hands with will be rejoicing in the presence of our wonderful Lord. As much as I wish all of us would be rejoicing, individuals make their own decisions regarding eternity. This particular decision is not one which I have the ability to make for them. The rut of the Christian life is our proclamation of belief without the sincerity of our belief. Simply stated, we say we believe but we don't actually believe. Our speech talks about the cross, but our hearts and minds have yet to experience the works of the cross. That may seem like a far-fetched or outlandish statement to some, but to others its truth resonates in the hearts of those who often reflect on Christ's promises during His ministry on earthly soil.

The Apostle Paul frequently broached the subject of transformation, most notably in chapter 12 of Romans in the second verse when he writes: "Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." If our thoughts or our fleshly actions saved us, then salvation would be far from impressive. But the wondrous news that we easily derive from the text is of God's marvelous mercy, gift of grace, and perfect provision. There is no cost of God's grace, but there is, however, a cost if we choose to follow or deny Him.

Discussing the subject and practice of "being saved", we often focus on the "saved from eternal damnation" segment without emphasizing any of our servanthood. The theological word "sanctified" means to be "set apart". We are set apart in many ways, but it is imperative that we understand that part of being "set apart" means to be set apart for the service of God. When we are made wise unto salvation, we must come to the realization, in addition to our need for salvation, the product of salvation. It is not so much what we are saved from as it is what we are saved for. If we were only saved from something, the full effect of salvation has been performed in vain. But salvation is fully expressed in the servanthood of the believer. We are all called to Christian service. It may not be as a pastor, missionary, evangelist, Sunday school teacher, deacon, or trustee. But we are called. In Second Corinthians chapter 3 verses 2 and 3, Paul writes: "You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts."

To be saved means that you and I live a transformed life. We have a new life, a new address, and a new perspective. And, as a result of this transformation, we are called to live a Christ-centered life by which others see Christ within us. For those who live a heathen lifestyle and call themselves "Christians" either misunderstood the idea of transformation or were never transformed, that being the true acceptance of salvation, to begin with. Living a former lifestyle while claiming to have experienced a transformation brings no honor and glory to the entity who extended to them grace. But those who are transformed by the act of salvation are to live a new life in Christ. We once lived according to the things of the flesh, but now we life according to the things of the Spirit.

May I ask you, dear friend, what are you living for? Have YOU been transformed?

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