Classic Christianity

Forgiven To Be Filled

Bob George        

Life's too short to miss the real thing ...

The process of canning is an excellent illustration of the two parts of the gospel.  Let's say that you are going to preserve some peaches.  What is the first thing you have to do?  Sterilize the jars.  Why the process of sterilization?  So that the contents of the jars — the peaches — will be preserved from spoiling.

Imagine a husband coming home and finding his wife boiling jars in the kitchen.  "What are you doing, honey?"

"Sterilizing jars."

"Why are you doing that?" the husband asks.

"I just like clean jars," she answers.

The husband is clearly at a loss.  "What are you going to do next?" he asks.

"Keep them clean!"

This story doesn't make much sense, does it?  You have never seen anyone decorate his kitchen with a sterile jar collection.  No, the only reason to sterilize jars is because you intend to put something in them.  We would never expect to find a person involved in only half the process of canning, just cleansing jars.  But we have done this

exact thing with the gospel!  We have separated God's sterilization process — the cross — from His filling process — Christ coming to live in us through His resurrection!

The Christian world, to a large extent, has been guilty of teaching half a gospel — that is, the cross of Christ which brought us forgiveness of sins.  But by separating forgiveness of sins from the message of receiving the life of Christ, we have not only missed out on experiencing life, but we have lost sight of the purpose of forgiveness in the first place.  The reason that God had to deal once and for all with the sin issue was so that we could be filled with Christ "without spoiling."

As a matter of fact, there is one final part of the canning process.  After sterilizing the jars and filling them with fruit, the jars are sealed.  Sealing keeps the good things inside and the bad things that would spoil the contents outside.  We read in Ephesians 1:13:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.  Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Cleansing, filling, and sealing: a wonderful picture of salvation!


excerpt from Classic Christianity by Bob George

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Additional Resources:

An Argument From Gratitude — When we consider the heavens and the earth beneath our feet, it should astound us that we are not more grateful than we are.

The Church as a Force — The job of the pastor is to teach everybody in the church how to minister.

How Great is our God — The heavens declare the glory of God.  From Canis Majoris to Laminin, we see concrete evidence of God's power, majesty, and love.

Looking In the Wrong Places — There is only one way to determine your identity that cannot be shaken, one foundation that cannot be taken away from you.

Meekness — A story of power out of control that became power under control.

The Practical Power of New Identity — What do you do if you're a Christian and you are wrestling with temptations and desires that are obviously sinful?

Surrender and Renewal — The most reasonable, logical thing you can do is to offer yourself without reserve to a God who loves you beyond comprehension..

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