Saturday, May 7, 2016

Changing the “S” - Martin Wiles

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

They labeled her one thing, but she proved she could be something else. 

Sent ahead to a new country with a promise from her husband that he would soon follow, Hester Prynne was soon left alone with no husband in sight. Loneliness took over. She was pregnant and living in a community that didn’t accept such shenanigans. Rumor had it, the culprit was the preacher. Who didn’t matter. The town knew the child wasn’t her husband’s. 

They branded Hester an adulterer and paraded her on a platform for the entire town to gawk upon. If that wasn’t cruel enough, they forced her to wear a scarlet “A” embroidered on her blouse for the remainder of her life. She took her punishment well, not showing anger to her fellow townspeople but rather helping them in any way she could. Her actions didn’t change the minds of the religious snobs, but it did impress the average folks. For them, the “A” no longer represented adultery. It stood for “Able.” 

According to Paul, no matter what I’ve been labeled with—an “A,” a “D,” or whatever else—things have changed if I’m God’s child. Regardless of what peppered my old life, my life in Christ overrules it and wipes the slate clean. I, like Hester, can change the meaning of the previous label.

God says I was born with an “S” on my breast. Sinner not saint. Slave not freeborn. While I choose to sin, I’m really destined to. I don’t come into the world with a clean slate and then become a sinner because I sin. I arrive with a sinful nature and a bent to do what’s wrong…and then I do.  

Trusting Christ as my Savior and receiving His forgiveness changes the letter’s meaning. Through God’s power the “S” (sinner) is changed to “S” (saint). Though I don’t achieve perfection—Hester didn’t either—I’m enabled by the Holy Spirit to obey God and love others. Those who may have seen me as a scumbag before can now recognize God’s power to change a person. 

Are you still walking around with the original “S?” If so, God can change the meaning. 

Prayer: Father, thank You that in Christ we can become new persons with new desires. 

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