Monday, February 23, 2009

Instructions for Assembling a Saint

Have you ever opened that big box, which contains a purchase you just made, to find pieces and parts innumerable? Somewhere in all that mess are one or more sheets of paper called the “assembly instructions”.

God in His infinite wisdom has provided us with assembly instructions and a picture of the finished item – a Saint. If you look closely, the “Saint” you see is “saved by grace”. God wishes for all to be saved. In 2 Peter 3:9, the last part of that verse says, "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”. Those that receive this offer have taken one step toward God’s plan.

A saint will become a Christian, meaning “Christ-like”. Just because a person is ‘saved’ doesn’t mean they are Christ like. Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born of many brethren.” God’s purpose is to transform the saint into the image of Jesus.

The final purpose for the saint is for fellowship with God. When God first created Adam and Eve in the garden, the Bible tells us that in the cool of the day that God walked and talked with Adam. The Creator and the creature had fellowship; but that was broken by Adam’s sin.

1 John 1:3-7 tells us of that fellowship regained, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message, which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

God has a unique plan for each person. For each person born, God has a plan that will take that person from birth through death into fellowship with Him in Heaven. God’s plan for your life was established long before you were born. In Jeremiah 1:5, we read that God knew Jeremiah before he was created in the womb of his mother. God had already set forth the plan for Jeremiah’s life; to be a prophet. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Is that just a mass of unmeaning cells in a woman’s womb? I don’t think so. Why would an “all knowing” God ordain such a mass to be a prophet? In Luke 1:44 “For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salvation sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” A mass of cells without organization or importance leaps in a mother’s womb over the news that the Savior is to be born.

You and I are no different from Jeremiah or any other creature of God. God has a plan for our total existence before we are born. The more closely we follow God’s plan, the greater is our ability and opportunity to serve Him and to fellowship with Him.

God does not abandon us at the graveside. Luke 16:22 “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man died and was buried.” Even in death the saint is not forgotten, but is personally cared for by God’s angels. The saint is given a personal escort to the throne room of God. 2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

God has established the criteria for a “Saint” and set forth a plan for each of us. God has also provided the instruction manual. God has given us His Word, the Bible, to provide the step-by-step instructions to attain His plan. Psalms 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” We have the instructions, the goal is defined, and the finished product is assured if we will only follow the instructions.

How many of us open the carton, remove all the parts, scan over the assembly instructions and say to ourselves “I can do it, I don’t need to waste time reading and following the assembly instructions? How many of us do the same thing with the instructions provided by God? I don’t need that; if I read them I wouldn’t understand them anyway. I’ll do it my way. You have a choice in every situation to do it your way and you will construct a final product, but it won’t be the product desired by God.

Now we will open the carton we have before us and see if we can assemble a “Saint”. No, this is not a job for just one person, for this job to be done properly, it will take hundreds or even thousands of other people. I do have the responsibility to do my part of the assembly. If I fail to do my part, the assembly will not be properly done on this new prospective saint and I will have deviated from God’s plan for my life. Even the prospective saint will be, after reaching a point in the assembly, responsible for some of their own completion.

As we open the carton, we take out the parts required for beginning the assembly. What do we find? A 6 pound, 9 ounce baby. On examining the contents, we find the baby to be healthy. If the baby had been unhealthy or handicapped in some way, we might have required additional tools for the assembly. Since our baby is healthy, let’s see what tools are required for the successful completion of our part in this task. The tool list says we first need the instructions - God’s Word. This is a tool we will need through out the assembly. We will need to keep this tool close by.

The second tool required is a good example. Barry Splichuk said, “The country clubs, the cars, the boats, your assets may be ample, but the best inheritance you can leave your kids is to be a good example.” Children learn by example, children mimic what they see others do whether it is good or bad.

This list of tools seem to grow as the child grows, thus the need to continue to go back through the instructions again. As our Father, God understands what it’s like to raise up a child. He understands the challenges required to mold and help develop character and ability in a child … HIS child … you … me. In His love for us, He gives us very detailed instructions to help us not only raise our children; but He also gave us instructions for our own assembly. God loves us so much that with the Holy Spirit and the willing hands of His servants, we were given a love letter filled with instructions to not only become saved by grace but to also become the “Saints” of the One true God.

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