Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blog Moved

This blog has now been discontinued, as we've decided to consolidate everything to our new website.
 
You can find all our new articles at http://www.drummoynebaptist.org.au/blog/. For our Feedburner subscribers, you will continue receiving our new content as we've changed it to point to the new feed.
 
 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How is justifying faith brought to you? By the word

We've been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th century. We've seen that the mediation of Jesus brings justification, which is a legal declaration that you are right before God, despite your sinfulness. We also saw that this justification only happens by faith in Christ. But how are people brought to this justifying faith?
 
The faith that justifies is brought about in the heart of a sinner by the Word of God. Paul explains in his letter to the church in Rome:
 
'4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.  
 
5 Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them."  6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?' " (that is, to bring Christ down)  7 "or 'Who will descend into the deep?' " (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:  9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."  12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,  13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"  
 
16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"  17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.  (Rom 10:4-17)'
 
Notice what Paul says in verse 4, righteousness is available through Christ for everyone who believes. And then after speaking about the way this faith is demonstrated, Paul says in verse 17 that such faith comes from hearing the word of God.
 
So without the word of God, no one can believe in Jesus. Which makes sense. You can't believe in something if you've never heard of it. For example, you can't believe that the Prime Minister exists if you've never heard of him. So it is with Jesus, you can't believe in Jesus unless you hear about him.
 
So the word of God is essential to having justifying faith. It is only in the Word of God that we can truly know about Jesus and put our faith in him.
 
Sadly many people do not hear about Jesus and so do not believe and are not justified.
 
Will you listen to the Word of God, believe and be justified?

Joel Radford

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What is justification? A legal declaration that you are righteous

We've been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th Century. Today I want to begin looking at the communion the church has with Christ and the mediation he brings. We'll start with the justification God gives.
What is justification? Justification is a legal declaration that someone is in the right. If I say something and my wife doubts the truth of my statement, then I may seek to justify my words by showing evidence that I am speaking the truth.
So when God justifies us, he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight. Paul says: '…God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them' (2 Corinthians 5:19). God has reconciled us to him by not holding our sins legally against us.
But how could God be a just God and let sinners be counted as righteous? It is only by the work of Jesus Christ that we can be counted righteous. If we believe that Jesus Christ died for us, his death pays the penalty for our sins and his righteous life is imputed to our account. Paul says: 'But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's  abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 15:15-21).
So God is not unjust in deeming us righteous. If you commit an offence and receive a fine from the police, it is perfectly reasonable for someone else to pay your fine for you. Justice is still met. So it is with God. Jesus has paid your debt and you can go free. You no longer need to suffer in hell for your sins, Jesus has suffered on your behalf.
So how can you have Christ bring justification to your life? You must trust in him. Paul writes: 'So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified' (Galatians 2:16).
This is marvellous news! If you trust in Christ, God no longer sees you in your sinfulness, he sees us in Christ's righteousness. You are justified.
Won't you trust in Christ today and be justified?                      
Joel Radford

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How was Christ poor?

In recent years we've seen the birth of more successors to the English throne. Prince George was born in 2013 and princess Charlotte in 2015. As they are third and fourth in the line of succession to the British throne, I'm sure the very best physical care that England had to offer was provided for their birth and subsequent childhoods.
 
The birth and childhood of Jesus Christ was anything but similar. Even though Jesus was of royal blood and set to inherit the throne over all things, Christ's birth was associated with many signs of poverty.
 
For example, rather than being born to a royal queen, Jesus was born to a woman of no particular worldly significance. We read in Luke's gospel: '… God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary' (Luke 1:26-27). Note that Mary lived in the region called Galilee. This part of Israel was treated with contempt by the Jews living in the South. For example, later on in Jesus' life people consider it impossible for someone important to come from such a region. They ask: 'How can the Messiah come from Galilee? (John 7:41). But not only that, Mary is from Nazareth, a town in Galilee that was despised even by other Galileans. A Galilean is quoted in the gospel of John asking: 'Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?' (John 1:46). Thus, Jesus starts life in this world in the womb of a woman of no significance in a notorious town in a frowned upon state.
 
But Jesus' experience on earth didn't improve when it came to his actual birth. Rather than being born in the capital city of the Israelite nation, Jesus ended up being born in the small town of Bethlehem. We read: 'So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David' (Luke 2:4). Then, if matters couldn't get any worse for this prince of the world, he was born in the worst possible place for you to have a child: where the animals live. Rather than being born in a hospital or even a nice house, we read: 'While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2:6-7). Can you believe it? The future king of the world was placed in a feeding trough rather than an expensive cot. But why? Why would God allow his to be born in such an appalling way? Would we not be flabbergasted if Prince George was born in a barn in a small notorious town of England? Shouldn't we be shocked even more when we consider that Jesus was the future ruler over all things, not simply the British Kingdom? Why would God allow such a travesty?
 
None of this was a mistake. The humble birth of Christ was simply the first stage of a life filled with pain and suffering that God had planned for his Son. Christ's life did not improve after his birth, instead he went on to be tortured and crucified, even while the title 'King of the Jews' hung over his head. But why would God plan such a life of pain for his Prince? Peter tells us: 'For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God' (1Peter 3:18). Christ went through a life of humiliation, beginning with his birth, so that sinners could be in a right relationship with God.
 
The truth is, we all deserve to be punished for our sins. We deserve to experience poverty, suffering and excruciating death. But Christ willingly took that punishment so that, if we believe in him, we can live in heaven instead. This is why Christmas is so wonderful. Our king took on rags so that we could take on riches. Won't you trust in Christ as your King this Christmas?                     
Joel Radford

Are the non-elect called?

We've been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th Century. Recently we've been answering questions about effectual calling. We've seen that to be effectually called means your mind is enlightened and your will is renewed so that you embrace Christ. Last time, we learnt that only those God elects are effectually called. But what about the non-elect? Are they not called too?
 
Although it is only the elect that are effectually called, the Bible does speak of the non-elect being 'called' too. This is particularly evident in one of Jesus' parables. We read: 'Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' "But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, 'How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?' The man was speechless. "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw  him  outside,  into  the  darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are invited, but few are chosen."' (Matthew 22:1-14). In that last sentence, the NIV translation has used the word 'invited'. But it is the same Greek word that is translated 'called' in other parts of the Bible. But if only the 'chosen' are 'called', how can many be 'called' but not actually be 'chosen'?
 
When reading the Bible, we have to be careful of thinking that just because one person uses a word in a particular way, it is always used in that way. The truth is, Jesus is using the word 'calling' differently from the way Paul usually uses it. When Paul speaks of being called, he means an internal call that is effectual in bringing someone to believe in Christ. Whereas Jesus is speaking of the external call to believe in him that goes out to all humans. The elect respond to the external call with faith (as they have an internal call as well). But the non-elect reject the offer and stay outside God's kingdom.
 
In Acts we see Paul giving the external call first to the Jews, then giving that same external call to the Gentiles. We read: 'When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him. Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles' (Acts 13:45-46).
 
Now we don't know who is internally called. But we do know that everyone is externally called and it is therefore everyone's responsibility to respond in faith. So will you respond to the external call to repent and believe in Jesus? You only have yourself to blame if you do not. God invites you to come into his kingdom. Why don't you?

Joel Radford

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Are only the elect effectually called?

We've been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th Century. Recently we've been answering questions about effectual calling. Last time I wrote on the subject, we saw effectual means your mind is enlightened and your will is renewed so that you embrace Christ. But who does God effectually call?
 
The Bible is clear that only those who God elects are effectually called. This truth is taught in Acts when the apostle Paul confronts some Jewish opposition: 'Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"" When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed' (Acts 13:46-48). Notice that only those who were appointed for eternal life believed. And as belief is a sign of effectual calling, we can conclude that only those appointed by God are effectually called.
 
But does the Bible really teach that some people are elected to be saved and others are not? Yes. The Bible speaks about certain people being predestined for salvation. Paul says: 'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment--to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory' (Ephesians 1:3-12). Paul clearly says that God 'chose' and 'predestined' Christians.
 
Now this is an uncomfortable truth for us to hear. It makes God sound unjust. Why should I be punished for not believing if I was not predestined to believe? Paul answers this question by noting that God has a right to do what he wants: 'One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?" But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?' (Romans 9:19-21).
 
The truth is, because of our sin we all deserve to be punished. None of us deserve to have God predestine us for eternal life. But in his mercy, God chooses some people to have such an inheritance. The rest he justly punishes for their unbelief and consequent sin.
 
So, if you are a believer, do you thank God that he effectually called you? Do you realise that he could have justly passed over you?
 
If you're not a believer, seek the Lord now by trusting in Christ. You don't know if you've been called or not. Perhaps you have been…
Joel Radford

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Why did Herod kill the baby boys? To protect his throne.

As we approach Christmas, we hear many familiar passages from Matthew's gospel about the birth of our Lord. These passages warm our hearts with affection for our God who came and lived amongst us so that we could enjoy peace with him.
 
However, not all the words of Matthew about this miraculous birth convey joy. In particular, the execution of the baby boys in Bethlehem by King Herod is not a pleasant account.
 
In Matthew chapter two we learn how the Magi came to King Herod and asked where the King of the Jews was to be born. King Herod was 'disturbed' and asked the Magi to report their findings to him. However the Magi are warned in a dream not to go back to Herod and so Herod is unable to kill Jesus directly.
 
Thus we read Herod's alternative solution to the problem: 'When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more" (Matthew 2:16-18).
 
But why would Herod wish to commit such an atrocity? Herod was afraid of losing his throne to Jesus. This violent act toward the residents of Bethlehem was merely one in a long of series of attempts to protect his throne. Out of fear, Herod killed most of his family including his favourite wife, brother-in-law, mother-in-law and three sons, along with other Jewish nobility and their families. Thus it was totally reasonable to Herod to execute a number of young boys in an effort to reduce the odds of a Messianic King growing up and taking his throne. Now we may be appalled at Herod's actions. But we are more like Herod than we may think. Jesus did come into this world to be king. And the sinful human heart hates the thought of it.
 
If we are honest, we prefer to be rulers of our own lives and follow our own laws. We don't want someone else to take us off our throne.
 
But that is precisely what Jesus has come to do. And so we often behave like Herod. We try to remove Jesus from our lives. Some may attack Jesus viciously, denying his existence altogether. Not content with that, they seek to remove Jesus from the lives of others (just as Herod did) by removing all mention of him from history – a recent example is even rewriting the calendar to remove the initials A.D. and B.C which refer to Christ. Meanwhile, some people are more subtle in their murder of Christ, they simply forget about him altogether. They go from one day to the next never thinking about their Creator and rightful ruler.
 
But the Lord will not be mocked. One day Christ's throne will be evident to all. Jesus will return and take his people to live forever with him. Meanwhile, those who have sought to rule their own lives will be punished forever. Jesus says: 'The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father' (Matthew 13:41-43).
 
So this Christmas, ask yourself are you like Herod? Are you trying to remove Christ from your life? Will you even go to desperate lengths to do so? Don't do it. Repent of trying to rule your own life. Trust in Christ as your savior and accept him as your loving ruler.
 
Joel Radford

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why did the Son of God become Human?

Is it so important that Jesus became a human? This is a question that has been asked within Christendom for centuries as many have struggled with the concept of Jesus being both fully God and fully man. For some, trying to understand this union was too difficult, and it was far easier to simply dismiss the notion that Jesus was human in the first place.

 

However, the fact that Jesus became human is as equally important as the fact that he was God. For if Christ was not incarnate, having not taken on human flesh, then he would not have been able to rescue humanity from its sins nor, consequently, been able to reconcile humanity with God. Yet, this is exactly what he was called to do. The apostle Paul states "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).

 

Christ came to rescue a humanity which was under indictment by the law of God because of sin. Sin which, having been inherited from one man – our father Adam –marred all with a sinful nature so that are guilty of transgressing against God (Roman 5:12). Yet, since sin was brought into this world by a man, it had to be removed by a man and only a perfect man born under the law could perfectly keep and fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from the guilt. Thus Christ came in the flesh and under the law, in order to fulfill the requirements of the law on our behalf (Matthew 5:17).

 

This leads us to another reason as to why Jesus had to be fully human. It was necessary for the Saviour to shed His blood for the remission of sins, as Hebrews 9:22b reminds us "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins."A blood sacrifice, of course, requires a body of flesh and blood. If Christ had solely been a spiritual being—and not fully man—He would not have had any blood to spill, and thus we could not have been truly cleansed from our sins as there would be nothing to satisfy the requirements. However, Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, sacrificed His human life and shed His human blood to cover the sins of all who would ever believe in Him.

 

Furthermore, because Christ was fully human, we are reminded that we can relate with Him and He with us. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials that we face. He was tempted; He was persecuted; He was deprived; He was despised; and He suffered great physical pain. Subsequently, He is able to sympathise with us. As Hebrews 4:15 puts it "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin". Only a human could sympathise with our weaknesses and temptations, as only a human can experience these things.

 

Believing that Christ was fully human is a foundation of the Christian faith. The apostle John states in 1 John 4:2-3 and 2 John 7 that to reject this is to reject Christianity in its entirety. Denying the incarnation of Christ is to effectively undermine the ability to Christ to redeem humanity. If Christ was not human, it means he could not really die, and this would mean that that cross is worthless.

 

Because the Son of God became human, and if we have our faith in Him, we are now redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Peter 1:19). Jesus became fully man so that we may be fully saved. Now that is something worth celebrating!

 

Brett Lee-Price

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How do you know Jesus was ‘God with us’?

The Bible refers to Jesus  Christ as 'Immanuel'. For example, we read in Matthew's gospel that Jesus was the fulfilment of a prophecy by Isaiah: 'All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us")' (Matthew 1:22-23).
 
But what does it mean that Jesus was 'Immanuel'. The word 'Immanuel' is a Hebrew word that is translated 'God with us' (as shown in the above passage from Matthew). So when the Bible calls Jesus 'Immanuel', the Bible is saying that Jesus is God on earth. He is God, living as a human being.
 
But is there any evidence that Jesus was God living on earth? Yes. On a number of occasions, Jesus claimed to be God. For example, Jesus said: 'I and the Father are one' (John 10:30). Now, this might not sound like Jesus is calling himself God, but that was the understanding of his listeners at the time. We read in the next verses: '…his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God"' (John 10:31-33).
 
Jesus also made a claim to be God in his interactions with a paralysed man. We read: 'Some men came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and  then  lowered  the  mat  the  man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralysed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralysed man, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." So he said to the man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"' (Mark 2:3-12). Jesus claimed to be God by doing something that only God can do: forgive sins. And to prove that he can forgive sins, Jesus healed a paralysed man. If he was not God, then the paralysed man would not have been healed.
 
So Jesus is indeed 'Immanuel'. God lived with humans on earth for a time, and gave evidence of his divinity.
 
Why is that important? Well if Jesus is God then he can forgive us for our sins. And as we've seen, forgiving sins is something he does do. So how can you have Jesus forgive your sins? The apostle Peter says: 'everyone who believes in him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name' (Acts 10:43).
 
Do you want forgiveness of sins from Immanuel? Trust Jesus without delay.

Joel Radford

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What happens if you are called by God? He renews your will

We've been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th Century. Recently we've been answering questions about God's church. Last time we saw that if you are effectually called by God, then your mind is enlightened. But what else happens if you are effectually called?

If you are called by God then God renews and powerfully determines your will so that you are willing and able to freely answer his call to be a Christian. Instead of rejecting God grace, you accept and embrace it.

Why do you need a renewed will? The Bible is clear that before God calls you, you can only reject God's message – the good news about Christ falls on deaf ears – in fact, spiritually 'dead' ears. But when God effectually calls you to belong to him, then he gives you a new will that does respond to his message.

The prophet Ezekiel speaks of this change in your will as being like a heart transplant. God says: 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws' (Ezekiel 36:24-27).

Meanwhile the prophet Moses describes this change in your will as being like a circumcision of the heart. In Deuteronomy we read: 'The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live' (Deuteronomy 30:6).

The apostle Paul reiterates this truth about the circumcision of the heart in the epistle he wrote to the Roman Church: '…circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God' (Romans 2:29).

Both of these images of heart transplants and circumcision demonstrate that, when God calls you, something radical takes place inside. You become a different person and are attracted to the God that you previously repelled. Instead of wanting to disobey God's word, you begin to love the Lord and follow his decrees and laws.

Thus the apostle Paul can tell Christians that God is doing a powerful work within them: '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 in order to fulfill his good purpose' (Philippians 2:12-13).

Paul calls Christians to do work for the Lord. But he understands that if they do good work, it is purely because the Lord has worked in them to will and act accordingly.

Do you want a renewed will so you can be willing to answer God's call to be saved from your sins? Beg the Lord to renew your will today.

Joel Radford.