Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You are not a muggle: Working out the work of Christ in us

Harry Potter was not a muggle. He grew up in a muggle family and he thought he was a muggle, but he was, in fact, a wizard. There was something stirring inside of him, longing to come forth, a power, an identity, the real Harry Potter. After he discovered that he was magical Harry was taken to the Hogwarts School of Magic, so that he could learn the nature and use of the magic that was already within him. You know the rest of the story.

If you are a child of God, there is something greater than magic inside of you. The Spirit of God lives inside of you and the nature of Christ is daily being re-created in you. God is at work within you, producing the desires and actions that please him.  Because God is at work in us, we are called to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling". We are not working FOR our salvation, but rather working OUT the salvation that God has worked within us. Like young Harry, we need mentors and others to help us develop, but make no mistake, this greater magic is there.

This greater magic is called the saving work of God. It was given to us as a gift from God. The gift was paid for with the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. Paul puts it this way:

"He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross. My dear friends, you have always obeyed, not only when I was with you but even more now that I’m absent. In the same way continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.  It is God who produces in you the desires and actions that please him."  The apostle Paul to the Christians at Philippi."  Philippians 2:8, 12-13 GW

Paul says that Jesus "humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross." Theologians call this the "finished work of Christ". What they mean is that Jesus, through his death, accomplished the salvation of mankind, and even the restoration of all of creation. When he said "it is finished" he was saying that the work of salvation was fully achieved. Jesus achieved salvation by obeying the Father and allowing himself to be nailed to the cross. It is his work, NOT OURS. We should never confuse "working OUT salvation" with "working FOR salvation". We are told to work out our salvation, but never to work FOR our salvation. Jesus already did that. If you asked Christ to forgive your sins and trusted in his work on the cross, then you are redeemed. The greater magic of salvation is at work inside of you.

I can't work FOR salvation because Jesus already finished that work. What I can do is work OUT the salvation he has achieved for me. Jesus through his death and resurrection has put the greater magic back into those who put their trust in him. We work out our salvation by obeying him, by walking in step with him. The good news is that he has already put the "want to" into our hearts. The magic is there.  Do you sense the magic inside of you?

"Lord, today I want to cooperate with your Spirit, to walk in step with you, to obey you. Thank you for putting in me the desire and ability to live out, work out my salvation. Amen.