Sunday, August 05, 2007

Who Is Sufficient?
By John Woodward

In Galatians 1:15,16 Paul recorded God's purpose in calling him to
salvation. "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's
womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I
might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with
flesh and blood . . ."

Notice that salvation involves more than missing hell and gaining
heaven. God intends to reveal His Son in and through the believer (Rom
8:29). This process of sanctification should not be limited to personal
development--God has commissioned us. We are to be making disciples.
Paul accepted this mandate, " that I might preach Him (Christ) among
the Gentiles." We are to be growing in spiritual maturity and
faithfully using our spiritual gifts and opportunities to spread the
gospel. When we grasp this high calling, how can we help but sigh- "And
who is sufficient for these things?" (2 Cor 2:16).

Later in Galatians Paul affirms how believers should be energized to
fulfill God's will. "He (the Holy Spirit) who worked effectively in
Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in
me toward the Gentiles (2:8). Paul and Peter had tremendously fruitful
ministries because they were clean and yielded vessels for God to
empower for His sovereign purposes.

How can we fulfill God's plan for our lives? We must learn again and
again that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. Selwyn
Hughes, of Crusade for World Revival, echoes this basic and vital
lesson. "It is noteworthy that throughout the ages God's greatest
servants have made clear that their success was due not to their own
efforts but to the grace that God imparted to them . . . I have seen
Christians suffer a breakdown as a result of trying to live the
Christian life in their own strength. We live dangerously when we try
to do Christ's work using natural energy alone. On one occasion I was
present at a dinner given in honour of a certain bishop. During the
after-dinner speeches I heard a layman make a terrible blunder when he
declared: 'Bishop, we are both doing God's work; you in your way, and I
in His.' Question yourself at this very moment and ask: Am I doing
God's work in my own way or in His? 'A Christ not in us, imparting His
grace to us,' said the great preacher William Law, 'is the same as a
Christ not ours'. . . Is this why so many of us fail to go as deeply
with God as we ought? We have received Christ but we do not allow Him
to diffuse Himself through all our faculties, to animate us with His
life and Spirit." (E.D.W.J., 1/14/95.)

Are we frustrated by a "power shortage"? Acknowledging our inability is
a huge step forward to being equipped with God's strength to fulfill
His will.

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