This is the final one of the 52 A.S.K questions. I am currently working on the follow up – S.E.E.K…..feel free to send me any questions that you think might be relevant. I am particularly looking for questions from non-Christian teenagers.
BIBLE READING: Romans 12:1-21
TEXT: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
This is a great last question to finish with. It ties in with other questions in this book like no. 1 and no. 13. Indeed it is the whole purpose of this book. Knowing God, knowing his will and knowing his love.
As I hope you have seen throughout this book, the Bible does not give us a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead we are given understanding about God, the church and ourselves. Christianity is not a computer programme, a moral code or a ‘how to self help’ philosophy. It’s about a relationship with God. The key to any relationship is communication. We communicate with God through prayer and he communicates with us through his Word.
What we have tried to do in this book is to show how thinking biblically about issues can help bring clarity. What is vital is that we read our cultures and our lives through the lens of the Word of God, rather than reading the Word of God through the lens of our culture and lives.
A Christian is someone who is in Christ. As we grow in our faith and our relationship with him then that will result in a renewed mind. As we are transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ then we will be able to test and approve God’s will. But many of the questions we have looked at question whether that will is good. It is good, pleasing and perfect, but we fear that it may be bad, displeasing and imperfect. We need to face up to this.
If God loves me then everything else falls into place. So how do we know God loves us? Listen to what he says. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’ (John 3:16-17). ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). I need nothing more than the cross of Christ to know how much God loves me.
And if he has given me Christ then how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered”’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:36).
CONSIDER: this wonderful Question and Answer from The Heidelberg Catechism (1):
Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by his Holy Spirit he also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for him.
RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING: Newton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ – Tony Reinke (Of course the one book that we should all read every day, and base our lives on, is the Bible. Please don’t take it for granted or assume that you know it. I have been studying, reading and praying the Bible for over forty years and I am still learning new things every week!)
PRAYER: For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God’ (Ephesians 3:14-19).
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