I Was Just Thinking About – CHARACTER.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is remembered by some of the lines used in his speeches. One of them pertained to “the content of one’s character.” What does that content mean and what should it include? Generally, it means: “The combination of features and traits that form an individual’s nature or traits; as well as one’s moral or ethical qualities.” It seems as though character and personal integrity are vital to each other. If integrity is not present, it affects how one is viewed as an individual.
Several years ago, I met with a graduate from one of the Reformed Seminaries in the hope that he and his wife would become part of the Church ministry. His immediate reply was that all people, both within and outside of the Church, are dysfunctional. Instead of exploring why he was convinced and embracing his view, I erred by challenging his failure to consider the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and the transforming grace of God who not only redeems but Who also begins the edification and sanctification of the individual. I referenced II Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things pass away and behold, all things become new.” My emphasis was upon the reality that the dysfunction could be transformed into being functional in Jesus Christ. Those who had been purposeless can become people of purpose in Christ. If this is not possible or likely, then there is no basis for hope in Christ.
I find great comfort in the words of I Corinthians 6:9-11, that delineates between the dysfunctional and the functional; between those steeped in trespasses and sins, and those who have been redeemed. The verses indicate: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
The obvious point is twofold: (a) “that is what some of you were” and (b) “but you were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” It reminds us that the marvelous grace of Jesus is greater than all of our sin. It reminds us there is always hope for the hopeless. It reminds us that God’s love, mercy and grace far exceeds one’s intellect and/or ability to comprehend. As the old Evangelists would often remind their audiences: “The grace of God can save from the gutter-most to the uttermost.” As one yields to Jesus Christ, the character of Christ begins to be our character. The Holy Spirit fills us with the fruit of the Christ-like character (Galatians 5:22-24).
Prayerfully – consider these things with me.