There is no genuine gospel in which God seeks only to convert people in order to from His eternal wrath. Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ came to make possible the birthing of human hearts into living relationship with God.
“To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
While deliverance from wrath provides a blessed firstfruits of trusting in Christ, deliverance unto the realized presence and working of God in us constitutes our Lord’s greater purposes. Our Heavenly Father does not seek to merely snatching a brand from the burning, as it were. We must join Him in the same dissatisfaction. The Apostle Paul expressed such a sensibility in his epistle to the believers of Galatia: “My little children… I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Galatians 4:19).
The challenge in this truth involves involvement. That is, leading newly born or adolescent believers into a mature relationship with God requires time, devotion, communication, and hands on participation. We must be there for each other, and we must be willing to sacrifice for those whom God calls us to spiritually nurture. “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you” (II Corinthians 12:14-15).
Pastors, for example, must do far more than merely stand behind pulpits and speak. These undershepherds of the Great and Good Shepherd must devote themselves to the sheep by continually recognizing that their greatest ability through Christ is availability. Indeed, no man is worthy of a pulpit who avoids the fields where God’s flock live their lives. The greatest effect of our Savior’s ministry was not to the multitudes who heard Him speak from hillsides, but to John, Peter, James and the other disciples with whom He walked long and dusty trails for three years. In the same manner, let us pray for pastors that involvement will be recognized as the primary calling of those whom God blesses to tend His flocks.
All believers must recognize that true ministry calls us to this hands on devotion to people. We seek not merely conversion, but consecration of those with whom we share the Lord Jesus. No greater challenge exists for born again believers, and no greater blessing awaits us than the forming of Christ in others made possible by the functioning of Christ in us through involvement and availability.
“For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
(I Corinthians 9:19-22)