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I spoke with a number of friends–all followers of Jesus–over the past week. We all share a common longing. We want to grow. We want substantial change. We want to be closer to Jesus, to know him better, to live more fully in his grace, to depend more fully on the Spirit. We want to be able to look back and see evidence that we grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).

In an earlier post (“Transformation”) I was reflecting on some of how Gospel transformation happens in our lives. And I am still trying to think well–to think Biblically–about such transformation.

The leading edge in Gospel transformation must be grace. The Gospel is not good advice we need to put into practice nor guidelines for how to get our acts together so as to live pleasing to God. The Gospel is about how God has invaded our world in Jesus to rescue and redeem and bring us into life. He is the one who began the good work in us, and he is the one who will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t to lean into what God is doing in our lives. He transforms us, in some sense, in drawing us into what he is doing in our lives and making us active participants in this work of grace.

The Lord addressed Abraham while he and Sarah were childless and calls him a father of many nations (Genesis 17). God speaks to Gideon and calls him a “valiant warrior” while Gideon is hiding in a wine-press, threshing a handful of grain (Judges 6). Jesus gives unstable and impulsive Peter the nickname “Rock” before there is any evidence of his “solidness” (John 1:42). These are just a few of the examples that could be multiplied time and again throughout Scripture. And in each case, those “called” by God grew up to be what God called them into by grace–and they gave themselves to that call and experienced that grace.

The leading edge is what God says about the person. The participation comes in giving into what God is saying. And I think that is the way forward for our life-change as well.

We listen for, we hear, we look for, we grasp, what it is that God is calling us to be by grace, by the Spirit, because of Jesus. And then we give ourselves to that.

So what is it that you are hearing, what are you seeing, what is God saying, how is he calling you in the Gospel, by the Spirit, through his Word, because of Jesus?

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