- Chronicle Lessons: (Part 1)
- Chronicle Lessons: (Part 2)
What are my takeaways from these passages from Chronicles (2 Chronicles 23-26)?
- God’s Spirit calls us to repentance. In this calling or “wooing” we often feel bad, or guilty, or convicted of our separation from God. We must remember; however, that these “feelings” of separation and conviction of guilt are not repentance in themselves…they help us to be aware of our need for repentance. What we need is not to treat the feeling, but to address the problem that has resulted in the conviction of guilt and separation. We need to turn away from ourselves and turn toward God…
- Repentance brings with it a need for radical reformation. If we are going to repent and not merely go through the motions of repentance (typically expressed by showing remorse for our actions, but never truly turning toward God), we must initiate radical reformation in our life. We can’t make the mistake of confusing this action step for “works of the Law.” Too often we fall to the Accuser’s deceptive lies that action on our part in our role and partnership of our salvation as “working for our salvation.” Do not be deceived; salvation is a work of grace alone by the hand of God… However, we do play a part in His work of grace. We participate as partners and friends of God in the sanctifying work of our salvation. Radical reformation means removal of the things from our lives that would trip us up in that work of sanctification and perfecting of our faith, and more often than not, we are the ones to initiate these. God the Holy Spirit will reveal the areas in need of reforming, but most often, we are the ones to initiate the steps to reform. This is the partnership. Radical reformation means determined turning away from any lure that would call us to the path of our former self. Another point to remember about radical reformation is this; radical reformation is not “one size fits all.” What this means is that an act of radical reformation for my journey and my life might not be necessary for someone else. Yes, there might be some areas of overlap… and common sense might reveal some of these. The important thing to remember is that I cannot assume my acts of reformation are the prescription of reformation for anyone else.
- Every believer and follower of Jesus might not be called to be a leader of people, but every believer and follower of Jesus is called to be a leader of themselves. In as much as this is true (and it is), what it means is that you will be called to invest all of yourself into the ministry of reforming yourself into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Yes, it is God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit who affect this transformation in the life of the believer, but it is our wholehearted submission and availing of ourselves that allow that transformation to take place. A “half-hearted” effort in developing a living and sanctifying relationship with Jesus Christ will result in repeated failure at best and ultimate destruction at worst; neither of these scenarios are especially enticing. God has provided every means for us to successfully live and progress in our relationship with Him. We are admonished and exhorted to follow the ancient paths, but so many “christians” (at least the majority I have met) are unwilling to go this route. The route of sanctification is a life-long, joyfully difficult process. Most people in our contemporary society want or expect their process with spiritual formation and Christian perfection to be a “7 step 90 day program.” Nope. Doesn’t work like that. How it works is total submission and wholehearted obedience in every single area of our life. Whole-hearted.
- Spiritual Pride is a notorious and nefarious killer of Christians. The very worst thing about spiritual pride is how often the person most deeply afflicted by it is unaware of their affliction. Because spiritual formation and sanctification is a life-long process, a person making progress in their spiritual walk is extremely susceptible to the trapping and tripping of spiritual pride. A new (or old for that matter) Christian begins to advance in their walk with Jesus…they begin to see some progress and fruit from their efforts; perhaps the new Christian begins to be praised for their spiritual acumen and some of the victories they’ve experienced over sin-strongholds in their life. This is the perfect breeding ground for the seeds of spiritual pride to take root. We see examples of spiritual pride throughout Scripture; it was one of the things Jesus spoke most harshly about in the gospels. As mentioned in my takeaway about “wholehearted devotion,” godly community and spiritual disciplines play an important role in helping us live humble and spiritual pride-free lives.
“Preserve your church, O God, not only from renunciation or neglect of faith but also from a tepid faith that calls forth from others contempt rather than conversion. Amen.”
As I’ve been learning and re-learning these lessons from 2 Chronicles, I’ve been paralleling my reading with Scripture from the New Testament (The Gospels, Epistles, and The Revelation). I wish to share some of the elements of these readings that seemed to lend emphasis to the lessons learned from Chronicles.
- Revelation 19:7 –“…And His Bride has prepared herself.” Are we? Are we preparing ourselves? (see more here)
- Revelation 19:10 –“The essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” Question: Are we, as followers of Christ, living “prophetically?” Is our witness a clear testimony of the power of Jesus in our lives?
- Revelation 20:1-6 –“There is a second death, and it is forever (eternal).” We don’t like to think about this; neither believers nor unbelievers like to confront this truth, but this is what Scripture teaches. Eternal separation from God is a reality and the choices we make today in the light of eternity will determine which eternity is ours.
- Matthew 16:21-28 –“Beware of thinking with the mind of man…” Reformation of the soul cannot come without radical reformation on the heels of true repentance.
- Revelation 22:11 –“Let the one who is doing harm continue to do harm; let the one who is vile continue to be vile; let the one who is righteous continue to live righteously; let the one who is holy continue to be holy.” Probably one of the most disturbing passages of Scripture (to me) in the New Testament. Here is a word of instruction to let wicked evil doers alone. We would want to attribute this statement to the most vile of persons; however, I contend that anyone serving themselves more than God is one who is doing harm and one who is vile… There are many “tares” growing “among” the wheat. “Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie” (Revelation 22:15). The question begs asking… “Are you living a lie, or are you wholehearted…?”
St. Athanasius wrote; “The Lord calls His ransomed peoples to sing songs of victory…” The lyrics to this song are told and sung most victoriously by the actions of our lives.
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He that made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” ~~Psalm 100