What You Do After

What am I here for?  That’s a question many Christians find themselves asking.  Think about it. Many people when they came to Christ were led to believe that our time here on earth is really a waiting game.  We’re all waiting to die and go to heaven.  That’s when God’s plan really comes together.  That’s what being a Christian is about.  Sure we were told that we needed to share this gospel with other people so that the whole world could know Jesus.  But, that is pretty much the extent of what God has in store for us until we reach heaven.

Now I can understand where this perspective came from.  The church has tried to focus on grace, and well it should.  That means we need to remind people that our place with God and our future with God comes from His favor given freely to us through Christ.  It is not the result of anything we give to God.  It’s a free gift, scripture tells us clearly.  As the church has rightly turned our focus away from our efforts for salvation, there’s been an unintended consequence.  We’ve missed the point that while grace brings us to God (and keeps us secure), God intends on transforming our character right here on earth.  He’s not waiting till heaven to start that project. It is important what we do.  This isn’t a new teaching. The Bible is filled with statements about this.  Here are a few…

Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:19

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

What’s clear is that God has a plan for you after you come to faith. His plan is for right here and right now.  His purpose is to renew you, to conform you to Christ. How does this happen?  Through character transformation and through engaging you in his project to redeem the creation.  But, is that the way we see it?  I’ve begun to read N. T. Wright’s new book entitled After You Believe.  He’s written on this topic as a corrective to the currents sweeping the western church.  (I do not agree with N. T. Wright on everything he has written.  But, I have found his challenge to the church in this volume very helpful.)  What’s most important is that we know scripture and understand God’s plan for his people.  We need to know what we are here for.  Do you?

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