Monthly Archives: February 2012

Putting grace to the test

Hatfield Heath

Hatfield Heath

 

Roman’s 12:2 says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Now what does this mean? In the context of the scripture and because of what Paul has just spoken of about grace; that’s what the “therefore…” is there for; it’s speaking of grace transforming our lives by transforming our minds, and this being tested.

We are to be active in this, doing what is right and not being conformed, or moulded by and formed by the world’s ways, but by grace. The goal is knowing what is good, acceptable and perfect.

Can we make it also mean that we are to believe what God has done in our lives, ignore the evidence to the contrary, and wait for the reality in our lives to catch up with the reality of what God has done? No. Not in morality, not in health and not in wealth. This is empty headed, over-spiritualizing intellectualism that ignores the visceral reality of the scripture. We are called to live right (Ephesians 4:17-24). Associating this scripture with the process of healing diminishes its power.

The scripture is talking about the realities of living in the world. It’s talking about doing the right thing despite the pressures around us to do otherwise; despite what we think. That is, not gossiping, not slandering, not telling lies, not getting angry, not being bitter, not being proud… things that start in our minds and destroy the work of grace.

Romans 12 to 15 let us know what we are to do as a result of receiving grace. Not if we like, or as the Spirit leads: we are to allow grace to transform our minds so that the realities of the life in Christ we live are pure. Romans 12:2 is not an excuse to wait for our minds to be transformed before we do right. It’s not an encouragement to believe in a healing that has not happened.

Paul’s call for us to renew our minds in Romans 12 prefaces 3 chapters of dos and don’ts. It’s an invitation to the hard work of living by grace, actively casting off and putting on, because we are founded in grace. Grace takes us to painful places and much of the battle is in our minds which need to go through the pain of transformation through testing.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
(Hebrews 12:11-10 ESV)

Should Christians buy Apple products?

Apple EEEK!

Now that’s a thought for the day. Stephen Foley writing in the i, (p.4, 14/02/2012) leads with, ‘Thousands of Chinese factory workers will be given the chance to detail the punishing conditions on assembly lines producing Apple iPads and iPhones…’ We also learn that workers typically earn 30p an hour, working 10 hour shifts with only one break. In 2010 in one factory there was a spate of 13 suicides or attempted suicides.

It’s a difficult one but, whatever you think, how has this made you feel? Threatened? It’s surprising how wedded we are to our technology. Dismissive? It’s not my problem and there are many other equally difficult questions to avoid each day, and I don’t need something else to feel guilty about. They work and they look good; what’s your problem? (Genesis 3:6)

Apple are incredibly brand aware. They ferociously protect their brand image and defend their product integrity. At present they are fighting to ban Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smart phone in the US because it looks and behaves like an iPhone. An illustration used recently at our church noted how Steve Jobs insisted that every part of an Apple product conformed to his design ideals, even the parts you couldn’t see. You can see the parallel aspiration in the life of the church.

What is the Christian brand and how far do we go to protect it?

Luke 4:17-22

If you get a chance read this comments on the i news story. The comments make fascinating reading. I have highlighted Apple but, it has to be said, they have owned up and are trying to do something about it.