Talk Them Into It (Again 05)
Christianity is the work of one man and one man alone: Jesus Christ. That you became aware of this, that you discovered you have such faith, this too is the work of Jesus’ Holy Spirit alone. All glory for conversion goes to the Holy Spirit’s work to convince your heart of your election. This is done by inspiring you with the truth of Jesus. Coming to faith, you have only done your duty, and that, too, was a gift.
No amount of effort on our part can change this. No sacrifice or struggle will give us power over this. We cannot save people. We cannot will, wink or whip them into salvation. The Spirit blows where he wills, such that we may not tell where he is coming from and whither he is going. But, we are commanded to enact a life that notices when he is there.
It is a most blessed and certain thing to speak the Word of God to yourself. The power of speaking the Bible’s words out loud cannot be argued against, any more than one dare deny that dreadful difficulty which descends every time it is your good intention to open the Bible, how the heart draws away and makes excuses, ever seeking to find a good reason for something else.
Yet, to speak the Word of God aloud is the power that the Bible gives you. This is why the wise will call the Bible a ‘means of grace,’ a tool by which the Holy Spirit promises to be active in your life. To be clear, the Holy Spirit’s promise is that the words of the Bible, made your own, will transform you in the election of Christ’s all-potent, life-establishing reality.
You will know your true identity. You will find the voice of heaven. You will have a conversation with God.
When you speak the Bible out loud, you are in direct conversation with your Creator. It is both prayer and story. It is both finished and living. It won’t always feel the way you might wish, but it is real. Reading the Bible out loud impacts your world with God’s real presence. Even better, it is a presence designed to regenerate and renew you by his holy operations upon you.
Each human is the unique design of the Almighty God. A Christian is also, at the same time, by the same God, redeemed. To redeem means to “buy back” or to purchase. This, once and for all, is God’s doing. The Christian, brought to faith by the sanctifying power of the Spirit alone, is not in any instance a cause in his salvation. He is something greater: he is the result. He is a member of the body of Jesus, a full participant in everlasting salvation’s effects, the chief of which is the awakened and regenerating heart that surrenders final trust to the foundational mercy of the Living God in the one man Jesus Christ.
The source of this faith is not inside the Christian soul. Such a pagan idea runs counter to the holiness of God. Like all false teaching, even when it seems true or makes use of known truths, it is an agent of obfuscation, intended to hide its idolatries in plain sight, twisting the light until you are too blind to put any wisdom into what you are doing.
The source of Christian faith is the Bible, “Scripture alone,” the substantial words of the everlasting Reign of Jesus, the Son of David, spoken to be heard. This, and this in primacy, is the God-given source of Christian conversion.
Of course, some will harden themselves against this. They will resist the Holy Spirit in order to follow their own folly. But even this evil our God can and will use for good as he ever enlightens our path in order to bring us back into doing that which we are created to do.
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