If we as Christians believe anything about God it is that He has the power, the ability to transform our lives. Every one of us who have walked with Christ for a period of time can humbly testify that God has changed our lives. The transformation begins suddenly at our new birth and can be drastic at the beginning. We all know people who were instantly, radically changed when they were saved. The difference was stark. However, the sanctification process is not over with that initial change. God does a sanctifying work in our lives.
- He uses other believers. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friends.” Personally, I had two youth ministers impact my life for Jesus. God used these two brothers during my teenage years to transform my life.
- He uses His Word. In our Lord’s High Priestly prayer Jesus prays for His disciples in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your Word is truth.” A routine study of God’s Word changes us.
- He uses His Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18 reads, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
In this passage, we see such a great work of God. When we look on Christ through His Word the Spirit works to transform our lives.
This short list serves as an introduction to an issue we have to deal with in our churches. Consider for a moment how we celebrate the transforming power of the Gospel in our churches. As we look over our congregations, gaze at our choirs, scan our praise teams, we see people serving who have been transformed. There is the lady who had an abortion, there is the former heroin addict who was saved, there is the man who was unfaithful to his wife, there is the young lady who maimed a person while driving drunk, I see the former prostitute singing “My Chains Are Gone”. They all have been changed and we celebrate what God has done for them and how they now serve our great God. The Gospel is awesome.
Here is the issue, look again, do you see anyone guilty of sexually abusing a child or having been caught with child pornography serving or having their transformed lives held up for celebration? I have had to deal with this issue in a couple of churches I have pastored. I have spoken to several pastors who are struggling with decisions concerning registered sex offenders attending their churches.
I have taken the position that I must protect my church family, our children will be safe. I can’t imagine a church having more safeguards in place than we do. I personally have visited two child sex offenders to share with them if they come to our church I will have an exodus. Both men agreed and were willing to adhere to tremendous precautions or to simply stay away. However, I know the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation even for the molester. Tears fill our eyes when the former prostitute sings of her love for Jesus while the sex offender is not welcome. Are we guilty of being judges with evil thoughts? No answers, only questions.
IF YOU READ THIS AS SYMPATHY FOR MOLESTERS YOU ARE BLIND. I DESIRE TO KNOW THE HEART OF JESUS ON THIS MATTER.
Dean is pastor at LaBelle Haven Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi.