Thursday, October 29, 2009

"What He Must Be" food for thought from chapter 4

This chapter is about the first requirement: He must be a follower of Christ. Baugham asks "What does it mean to be a Christian? ... Let us focus on three key aspects of conversation. For the sake of convenience, I have placed them in the following categories: regenerate, repentant, and reformed."

The word "reformed" always takes me aback a little. It always makes me think of 'reformed theology' but it, of course, has many other meanings. In the section where Dr. Baugham explains the point of "reformed" he states the following:

Beyond being regenerate and repentant, a true Christian man is reformed. Perhaps the most famous assertion of this truth came from the pen of the apostle Paul. He wrote, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Any man who has truly been converted will inevitably bear the marks of that conversion in the form of a changed life.

This is not to say that the man will no longer have struggles or rough edges. It is, however, to say that there will be fruit. No good tree will bear bad fruit. True conversion produces true changes. John captures this beautifully in his first epistle:

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this is it evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3: 9-10)

Wayne Grudem, commenting on this passage, helps draw the fine line between the appropriate expectation of a reformed life and the unreasonable expectation of a perfected life. He writes:

Here John explains that a person who is born again has that spiritual "seed" (that life-generating and growing power) within him, and that this keeps the person living a life free of continual sin. This does not of course mean that the person will have a perfect life, but only that the pattern of life will not be one of continuing indulgence in sin.

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