Nr.152 ended with: “God’s Spirit was moving and every week some were saved. The words of Psalm 118:23 come to mind, “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” But, ……….. there were problems too…………….!” (See richardandmarina.net).
Of course, there were problems, one cannot have babies without dirty diapers! And we had a lot of babies, “baby” Christians. The Lord had saved them and they were now on their way to heaven, but God had more in mind than that alone. In Romans 8:29 it says that we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. In other words, God wants to make little “jesusus” out of us. Can you image what a world full of little “jesusus” would be like? Man was originally created in God’s image, but that image was messed up because of sin, so God sent a new image of Himself, His Son. He died for us and paid for our sins, was buried and then rose again, so as to be able to give us new life through His Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit now works in us to make us like Christ, but this is a lifelong process and is not so simple.
People become Christians, wonderful, but now things need to change in their lives and that can be painful and difficult at times. It is one thing to have someone become a Christian, it is quite another thing to have this person live like Christ as a true disciple of Him. Like in a family, all parents know that it is one thing to have a new baby, it is quite another thing to raise that child to maturity. In the case of discipleship, there was a lot of teaching and counselling involved, but it was wonderful to see people grow in their faith and change and become true disciples.
One of the instruments God uses to refine us is the Church. When we become born again Christians, we become part of the universal Church of Christ, but God also wants us to be part of a local assembly or church. Notice how often the church is mentioned in the N.T. Hebrews 10 speaks of “not forsaken the assembling of each other.” Every born again Christian is like a rough diamond, but just as diamonds need to be cut, so also Christians. And so God puts us together in the church and our rough sides rub with each other. This can produce heat, and sometimes it gets to be too hot and the Christian says, “I’m not coming any-more, I can believe on my own.” But that is running away from God’s refining process and that’s too bad because He wants to make beautiful diamonds out of us! (Go to Musings).