10th March 2016

Read The Small Print 

“…Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
John 7:37 (NKJV UK) 

Whenever you buy a new home or garden appliance these days, it comes with a great wedge of paperwork. There’s the guarantee, the user manual, the list of stockists and repair facilities, and so on goes the stuff. And usually, nestling quietly somewhere in the bottom among all the packaging, is a document containing all the Small Print.

Like most people, I don’t usually read this—I want to be using the new gadget. After all, that’s what I bought it for, not to spend half an hour reading superfluous, unwanted information. Only. The Small Print is actually something we need to read, at least from time to time.

When God begins to call someone to Christianity, this being an age of scepticism and suspicion, we hunt around for the Small Print. What am I not being told? What does God get out of it? What does he expect of me? And often we are very careful not to be ‘sucked’ in to this religion trap. Well, if that’s where you are right now, I’ve got some good news for you. There is no Small Print in God’s paperwork. To almost quote from another product’s famous slogan, what you see in the book, is exactly what you get. This is almost certainly going to amaze you, may even provoke thoughts of improbability, but the promises made by God to the new Christian come with no Small Print. Everything necessary to ‘make it,’ to achieve what God promises, everything we need to become a Christian, is given to us.

And it was all accomplished for us long ago. In other words, we can’t change a thing because it was all settled millennia ago. In fact, God sorted it all out before he put mankind on this planet. He made sure that we would have everything in place before we even knew we were going to need it. That’s a God of love, with totally consuming passion for his children!

So often we view God in the light of the conditions we would impose on someone coming to Christianity. And, of course, many Christians and fellowships continue to operate their version of it in that light. But the true God of Christianity has no such conditions. He isn’t a God of hate; he’s a God of love. He isn’t a God who exacts retribution for failure; he understands that his creation is flawed. He created us flawed, ready to need and accept our perfect Saviour but only when we came to understand our position vis-à-vis his.

So, if you’re hesitating, come on in. The Christian condition is one of reassurance, surrounded by love and security. Yes, there are things we need to do—actually work towards becoming—to change our flawed us to become more like his perfect being. But that’s something we can pick up on later. Meanwhile, go on, give it a go.

Prayer
Holy Father, we pray for those to whom you are extending your loving hand, to call them to this exciting life you offer, as Christians, as your children, as partners with you in the Adventure of Life. We ask for your calming help for those who remain sceptics, those with fear and unbelief. Help us to show them, loving Father, the Way. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by John Stettaford

_____________________________________________________

johnstettafordAbout the Author:
John Stettaford is an Elder in the Reading Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Reading
Prospect School,
6th Form Common Room
Honey End Lane
READING RG30 4EL

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Stettaford
Phone: 01923-241426
Email: pastor@wcg-reading.org.uk

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Comments

7 Responses to “10th March 2016”

  1. Sherwin Scott on March 10th, 2016 11:51 am

    Excellent DaybyDay topic by John. I somehow find it difficult to agree with the statement “He created us flawed”. Genesis chapter 1 and verse 31 states that God saw everything that he made and it was very good. That would include mankind, if we were made “flawed”, then it would not be “very good”! I always believed that we became “flawed” after The Fall, after Adam and Eve rejected God’s instruction, not to eat of the forbidden fruit.

  2. Sherwin Scott on March 10th, 2016 1:33 pm

    My wife brought something else to my attention with this Day by Day topic which need addressing. The statement “Yes, there are things we need to do – actually work towards becoming – to change our flawed us to become more like his perfect being”. That is saying, that it is up to us. But it is not up to us, it is all about what Christ is doing in and through us. He is the One who changes – transforms – us, we cannot change our “flawed” nature!

  3. Sherwin Scott on March 10th, 2016 7:27 pm

    I have read the small print! And my conclusion is that a loving and caring Father will not create “flawed” children, and then expect them to “work” at changing their flawed nature to his perfection. If we were created flawed, then that means we were created for pain, suffering and death! Which is mankind’s history. It just does not make sense to me. Maybe I am mis-understanding something. Please clarify.

  4. Sherwin Scott on March 11th, 2016 5:30 am

    At first glance I thought the topic was excellent. But when I took a closer look at “the small print”, I have to change my mind. It appears to be flawed theology! Salvation by works. As we know, salvation is a free gift. We cannot earn it by “working to change our flawed nature to become more like his perfect being”. Today we have better understanding with a trinitarian Christ centered theology. If I am wrong then I stand corrected.

  5. Sherwin Scott on March 11th, 2016 5:30 am

    At first glance I thought the topic was excellent. But when I took a closer look at “the small print”, I have to change my mind. It appears to be flawed theology! Salvation by works. As we know, salvation is a free gift. We cannot earn it by “working to change our flawed nature to become more like his perfect being”. Today we have better understanding with a trinitarian Christ centered theology. If I am wrong then I stand corrected.

  6. Sherwin Scott on March 12th, 2016 9:40 pm

    Sorry, I should have written “I stand to be corrected”

  7. Richard Dempsey on December 15th, 2016 2:18 pm

    Hi Sherwin, I believe that John is speaking here from the same Trinitarian Christ-centred position that you refer to. You are right of course, in what you say about grace, but John is also right in what he is saying here. As I understand the word ‘flawed’ it means e.g. “having or characterized by a fundamental weakness…” which is precisely how Adam was created (i.e. incapable of conforming fully and effectively to the will of the Father). Only the man, Jesus (the last Adam), was ever perfect in that sense (hence the fall). So, as I understand John, when he talks in this study about needing to “change our flawed us to become more like his perfect being”, he doesn’t mean ‘on our own strength’ but by the Spirit’s work in us, of which we are partakers. As Paul says: “for it is God who works in you to will and to act…” (Phil 2:13). But we still must ‘will and act’ (howbeit through our walk in the Spirit); which is why Paul can also say: “…he who plants and he who waters are one in purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labour. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me (1 Cor 3:9). Notice Paul’s emphasis (as is yours and John’s) on grace!!

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