Supernatural Seed

o1080072114205626186

I had to learn by experience the meaning of the parable of the four soils: according to the New English Bible, some seed fell “along” the pathway; some fell “on” stony ground; some “among” thorns; and some fell “into” good soil. I would have to learn to put up with the “along,” the “on,” the “among,” awaiting the “into.” Three out of the four efforts to get a harvest would be lost. It was a sobering prospect to feel that 75 percent of all your efforts to produce permanent changed character would be lost.

But the last soil, where the seed fell “into” good ground, brought forth thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. Thirtyfold is 3000 percent, sixtyfold is 6,000 percent, a hundredfold is 10,000 percent, on the investment. Large returns? Exaggerated? No, in fact. You touch one, and he becomes changed by the power of Christ; he touches another, and he another, and it goes on in geometrical progression endlessly. So this investment in changed human character is the one bank that will not break, and it brings large dividends; it is big business.

–E. Stanley Jones,
A Song of Ascents

Advertisements

Uniqueness of the Gospel

fountain 4

We see that the uniqueness
of the Gospel is that when He who is
self-giving love takes over a human life,
the one who is taken over himself
becomes an other-lover,
and not just blessed but a blesser,
not just healed but a healer,
not just loved but a lover.

–Norman P. Grubb

Sanctification

Beauty_and_the_Beast

In “Beauty and the Beast,” it is only when the Beast discovers that Beauty really loves him in all his ugliness that he himself becomes beautiful.

In the experience of Saint Paul,
it is only when we discover
that God really loves us
in all our unloveliness
that we ourselves start
to become godlike.

Paul’s word for this gradual transformation of a sow’s ear into a silk purse is sanctification, and he sees it as the second stage in the process of salvation.

Being sanctified is a long and painful stage because with part of themselves sinners prefer their sin, just as with part of himself the Beast prefers his glistening snout and curved tusks. Many drop out with the job hardly more than begun, and among those who stay with it there are few if any who don’t drag their feet most of the way.

But little by little—less by taking pains than by taking it easy— the forgiven person starts to become a forgiving person, the healed person to become a healing person, the loved person to become a loving person. God does most of it. The end of the process, Paul says, is eternal life.

  –Frederick Buechner
Beyond Words

Artwork: Scott Gustafson

Transformation

Shagpile symmetry

The sinful heart
is never transformed
by conformity to
the imperatives
but only by relationship
with the One who
cleanses hearts.

— Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

Make me new

thinking_man_by_namespace-d34jvkk

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

–John Donne
(1573-1631)

Expect change

Light through the green Wallpaper__yvt2

Prayer does not
change God,
but it changes him
who prays.

–Søren Kierkegaard

His love is not earned

bluebell_grove_ashridge1

Legalism says God will love us if we change.
The gospel says God will change us
because He loves us.

― Tullian Tchividjian

%d bloggers like this: