2009-01-10 - “THE OPENED SIGHT” - Oswald Chambers
(From - “My Utmost for His Highest”)
Acts 26:17-18 (25:23-26:29) “I now send you, to open their eyes ... that they may receive forgiveness of sins ...”
This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament.
God's first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, “... that they may receive forgiveness of sins ...” When a person fails in his personal Christian life, it is usually because he has never received anything. The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our job as workers for God is to open people's eyes so that they may turn themselves from darkness to light. But that is not salvation; it is conversion - only the effort of an awakened human being. I do not think it is too broad a statement to say that the majority of so-called Christians are like this. Their eyes are open, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is a neglected fact in our preaching today. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins.
This is followed by God's second mighty work of grace: “... an inheritance among those who are sanctified...” In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberatelygives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirelywith God's ministry to others.
NOTE: I believe it is possible to have a head-knowledge of the above - possible to preach these principles - possible to con oneself into hoping that he has made the grade, and will be accepted by God - and all the time have entirely missed the point of the above.
Oswald Chambers upset many of his hearers and students with his clear presentation of the Gospel. There was noevasion of the point with him! He would respond to strong objections with - “Just put it on the back burner for a while - and it will eventually come clear.”
Often it is a critical life experience that catapults us into making the above two decisions - or a dream. The second is the most difficult, for it rings the death-knell for our self-life. Once we are truly identified with Jesus Christ in His crucifixion - then our life is His, and He lives out His victorious, resurrected life through us. Then Paul's verse in Galatians 2:20 becomes ours also, not something we merely quote. Then like Paul Rader we also say that when God truly comes in and takes over, that we begin “Life's Greatest Adventure.”
It seems that all who enter the second step, it is through a traumatic death-dealing experience. This was certainlytrue for Chambers, Howells, Baker and Muller. It was true for Paul starting on the Damascus Road when he asked, “Who are You, Lord,” and received the answer, “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting.”
“With Eternity's Values in View” - there is then nodecision too hard! May we each one step up to bat, and count the cost, and follow completely through. - JW.