Items posted on 12 July 2012
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Ezekiel 20.41-43 and John 3.3 – Allowing God to remake us.
Posted: 12 July 2012 in Ezekiel, John

I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

I have my doubts about whether it could truly be said that we loath ourselves when we sin against God. But, to the extent that it isn’t a true description of our inner state, to that extent we need to be remade by God’s spirit. That is why John’s Gospel talks about the need to be born again. In my opinion, the thing being talked about there is not a one off emotional experience, as is sometimes imagined, but a complete remaking of our inner most selves by the Holy Spirit. And that is not something which happens all at once. In that respect I suppose my theology is closer to that of Catholicism than Protestantism – the only important thing is that we are remade by God, and emotional fireworks are irrelevant.

If he wanted to he could do that in an instant, but it is evident that God chooses not to, and that it happens over a period of years and decades. It is not for us to ask why he chooses not to do it that way; it is only for us to accept what is an observable aspect of our Lord’s will. Also, we must allow God to remake us in any way that he wants, and to rejoice that his will is thereby being done. If he wants to make great saints of us – that is God’s doing, not ours. If, as seems more likely, our role is a fairly pedestrian one, we must quietly rejoice over that. Our part is to be clay in the hands of the potter, who will make of us whatever he will.

All of the vessels which leave the potter’s hands should, however, find that they dislike themselves whenever they transgress the least of God’s commands. To the extent that they don’t, to that extent the potter still has a lot of work to do.

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