Transforming Grace

Sitting at my desk doing my studies, I have a wonderful view out of my window. From there I can see over the farmers fields where the crops are growing to some of the foothills of the Cairngorms and in particular the north face of Morven, an 872 meters tall hill.
It is now June and there are still a few small spots of snow clinging to this particular hill. Watching the process of the snow melting off these slopes over the past few months has got me to thinking about our lives before Jesus, our lives in Jesus and how they are transformed by Jesus.
In deep winter everything up here is covered in snow, much like our old lives covered in sin; everything under the snow is lifeless, in seed or root form with the potential for abundant life but lacking in something, also like our lives before we met Jesus; yet once we come to know Jesus and accept His gift into our hearts, Jesus begins to work on our sins and help us bring them into the light and put them away.
This is very similar to the way the seasons work – winter moving into spring, the sun melting away the snow a piece at a time, the seeds and roots beginning to bloom into life where the snow has melted away, exposing them to the light. Sometimes this is a rapid process and sometimes it is slower but increasingly it does happen; in the same way, for the true believer this process happens to you too, the light of Jesus exposing your sins and melting them away, freeing you and growing you into something beautiful. Like the snow on Morven in spring, clinging on until the summer sun finally melts it all away; Sin also clings on in our lives until we finally meet with Jesus face to face and enter into our eternal summer.
1 John 1:6, 8-10 says:
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. ” (v6)
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. ” (v8-10)
This was written by John to believers. Yes, you are still a sinner, I am still a sinner, we are all still sinners.
This is really important because it defines how we think about ourselves. If we begin to think we have no sin, or we can sin no more we will begin to think we are better than the rest of humanity, we will begin to see nothing wrong with telling lies, cheating, stealing or worse.
We will continue to sin.
We are still sinners BUT Jesus works in us to change us, melting away our sins one by one to transform us and change us. We continue to have the capacity to sin and we do still sin, but this shouldn’t make us want to give up and continue sinning, rather it should make us desire to be less sinful. Jesus died on the cross for your sins, past, present and future; Jesus rose again to put those sins to death and gave us hope; hope of eternal life, a life free from sin.  This is not a life we have yet reached; we are in the spring.
As the sun melts away the snow on Morven a little at a time, so too are we also being transformed.  Bit by bit sin is being replaced, in the place where sin was we see new and beautiful desires grow and bloom from those seeds and roots which were once buried by sin.  We increasingly become more like Jesus!
Galatians 5:13, 16-17, 22-25 says:
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. ” (V13)
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (v16-17)
In the Spirit!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (v22-25)
And see the Fruits!
As we see the sins in our lives decrease, we should also see the fruits in our lives increase.  The fact you are alive and reading this is a testimony to Gods grace and mercy.  He has still got work for you to do, work he has designed specifically for you.  Therefore we should all be striving towards the goal of perfection, knowing that only through Jesus will we ever attain it.
This process can be compared to the work done in spring by the farmers; it is hard work, ploughing the fields, sowing the seeds, tending the crops and patiently waiting whilst the crops grow.  It takes time, a lot of effort and discipline, but the growth itself doesn’t come from the farmers efforts.

Like the farmers we need to plough and prepare our hearts, weed out sin and tend the seeds of the fruits of the spirit. But it is God alone who provides the growth.  We need to put in time, effort, and be disciplined as we work to pursue Gods heart.  We need to be continually removing existing sin from our lives, striving every day to be a little more like Jesus, not to sit back, complacent, believing we have done enough or have now arrived.  Our hearts desire should be to be like Him, exhibiting Him increasingly in our daily lives.

1 John 3:2 says:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
This refers to our transformation; when Jesus returns or we go home to be with Him, it is then that we will move from the spring of our walk (where we work, strive and during which we increasingly become more like Jesus) into the summer. That is when we become as He is, sinless for eternity, not because we have worked for it but because He gifts it to us.  That is when we will hear the words that should be the greatest desire of all our hearts. “Well done good and faithful servant”
So as the snow melts and disappears from Morven and as life grows and blossoms leading into the summer what I see is a mirror; a reflection of the hope that we have in Jesus, an image of how our lives transition over time from the cold winter of sin, to the warm spring of new hope and life, eventually to the promise of an unstained, fully bloomed and beautiful summer of eternal and sinless perfection.