A notion prevalent in Christianity today is that once we believe in the Lord Jesus, we are saved from going to hell, to going to heaven. This destiny is based on the unshakable word of God, and will happen, regardless of anything we do, whether good or bad. At best, this concept misses the target. Worse, it is misleading, and causes God's people to squander the many opportunities prepared by God for them to be transformed and conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God.

Almost as prevalent as this notion, and very much related, is the thought that it doesn't matter whether Christians have a proper character; afterall, their destiny has been sealed. In addition, since Christians have believed into the Lord, and have received His life into them, they need no longer try to do anything. Aside from producing a result which is very much an anti-testimony of the Lord, a cause of stumbling for both Christians and unbelievers, this concept is also very much in error, or at best, only partially correct, biased, one-sided.

To illustrate this, we can view the matter of character as an earthen vessel, into which the divine treasure has been imparted (2 Cor. 4:7). While it is indeed true that we ought to depend on the Lord in everything we do, and that apart from the Lord, it is futile to strive to be good in ourselves, nonetheless, character plays a vital role in whether God can be expressed and glorified through man. In Exodus, Moses beheld a burning thornbush. While the thornbush was not the source of the fuel for the fire, and so was not consumed, the fire still needed the thornbush to hold it up. This is a picture of how critical character is. A table must be straight and even (as in, level) in order for objects to be entrusted to it.

One striking example is in the Life-study of Exodus, message 59, where we see the way to read the Bible and to receive the most benefit. Even the amount we receive from reading the word of God depends on us, specifically on our attitude and condition. Concerning our attitude, we must have a heart that is single and wholly for the word. Concerning our condition, we must not have any hindrances between us and the Lord, such as unforgiven offenses, for example. Given that we are proper in these two conditions, there may still be complications which cause us to not be able to take anything away from spending time in the Bible. Primarily, this is where our character comes in. "What does it mean to contact the Word in a rough way? It means that you simply read it with your eyes and utter something with your mouth, not even caring for a proper understanding of the Word. Rough people are shallow." Trees do not absorb water and nutrients through the old, large main roots. Rather, they are sustained by the microscopic, fine root hairs. This conveys to us the importance of being fine whenever we come to the word of God. This is a matter of character.
Written on March 19, 2010
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