July 22, 2017

The Great Turn-around

Ephesians 4:25-32

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

—  Ephesians 4:28

Two robbers were crucified with Jesus. One mocked Jesus, hard-hearted to the end. The other repented, seeing that Jesus was innocent and believing that he was who he said he was. He asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Jesus promised they would be together that very day in paradise (Luke 23:39-43).

Conversion to Christ brings a great turn-around in a person’s life. One who has been stealing begins to work so that he can generously give to people in need. One whose mouth was filled with gossip, lies, and filthy language begins to talk in a way that helps others instead of corrupting them. A pornography addict learns to control himself and to have a pure mind.

People who don’t understand the church think it’s only for ­basically decent, respectable folk. Yes, God’s people often think they are better than others. But God has told us from ancient times that he has blessed us not because we are righteous but so that we can pass the blessing along to others (see Genesis 12:2-3; Deuteronomy 9:4-6).

If we keep in mind that the blessings of salvation are entirely by the grace of God, we’ll have the humility—and the boldness—to relate to others in Christ’s church and to work together to share his good news with others.

Thank you, Lord, for your grace and for the fellowship of other saved sinners. May we help each other to live holy lives and share your love with others. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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