It must have been in 1988 or 1989 that my father put me onto Oswald Chambers. He had been so blessed by the classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, that he wanted everyone he knew to benefit from it. Dad would buy boxes full of the books and give them away to anyone with the slightest interest in Christianity.
What a blessing it has been in my life. This morning’s reading in “Oswald” (as Dad used to call it), is classic. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite for the spiritual food that God blessed this man with. (The following is from the October 6 reading, with my notes in bold.)
If Jesus Christ is going to regenerate me, what is the problem He faces? It is simply this— I have a heredity in which I had no say or decision [i.e. the sinful nature we are all born with]; I am not holy, nor am I likely to be; and if all Jesus Christ can do is tell me that I must be holy, His teaching only causes me to despair [in such case, God would be telling me to be and do what I can never be]. But if Jesus Christ is truly a regenerator, someone who can put His own heredity of holiness into me, then I can begin to see what He means when He says that I have to be holy. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into anyone the hereditary nature that was in Himself, [simply, Jesus puts His own nature into us, which is “regeneration”] and all the standards He gives us are based on that nature— His teaching is meant to be applied to the life which He puts within us [only Jesus can live the Christian life! And He can do it in and through you…if you will yield to Him and trust Him. This is truly good news!].
Chamber’s shows us the difference between good advice and good news. Christianity is a miracle. Sadly, most people approach it as just another system of religion…as another approach to behavior management. Yes, Jesus changes our behavior. But not from the outside-in. He first plants His own nature and Spirit within us. Then from that new Life within, He can live His life in and through us.
If your conception of Christianity is that God through Christ is giving us a second chance to prove ourselves, then you’ve totally missed it!
Never forget that real Christianity is an exchanged life. It is good news and not simply good advice. Thanks be to God for His servants like Oswald Chambers who deeply understood the grace of God. You can check out his devotional online at http://MyUpmost.org .