Today with the Titus 2 ladies we did a lesson on Isaiah 1:18-19…..God’s call to reason. This is not an invitation to argue or debate with God about God’s priorities. I hear it more like God saying, “You stiff-necked, stubborn, ungrateful and uninformed people…..listen to me! This is the bottom line. God’s gives a description of his two-fold work of grace in addressing our sin…….making it “like snow” (the imputed justifying grace that wraps around and covers us in the pure righteousness of Christ) and making it’s crimson stain “as wool” (the imparted sanctifying grace that works from within to make us white through and through)…..That is followed by God’s invitation to obedience and the blessing of accepting it: “If you consent and are obedient you will eat the best of the land.” He also provides a warning and the consequences that will follow our failure to heed it: “If you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.”
As we discussed, God’s priorities in appealing to our reason, given to us by God, are
- The blessings of obedience
- The consequences of rebellion
I talked to the women about this two-fold process, involving change of heart and change of habits:
Quadrant 1- We begin the journey toward change, before our encounter with Christ, with the old heart and old habits. The goal is to move toward Quadrant 4- where the new heart and new habits reflect the complete transformation.
There are 2 routes to get there:
Through Quadrant 2: This is way of self-will, determination, white-knuckling it. One tries to change through adapting the behavior of others who are in Christ, of trying to “walk the walk”….It is fundamentally a work-based approach. It may be sustained for a while, but eventually, a change that consists of habits only, without a changed heart, will fail.
Through Quadrant 3: This is the way of faith in Christ and a real change at the heart level. One is justified by faith and the Holy Spirit then aids in transforming the habits to new ones that are consistent with the character of Christ.
I have seen, lived, and trust the clockwise move that begins with the justifying work of grace in the heart that brings one into a position of “living in Christ” and the accompanying work of sanctifying grace that enables one to “let Christ live in me!”
I have not observed people being able to consistently move from the position of Quadrant 2 to Quadrant 4. Or they bounce back and forth between Quadrant 1 and 2 trying to achieve a Christian life in their own strength time and time again.
Then we spent about an hour talking about the Beatitudes and the process detailed by Christ for how to accomplish the move from Quadrant 1 to Quadrant 4 and what is involved in each step of the progression, what pitfalls exist along the way, and how to know when one has gotten stuck and how to move forward.