May 7, 2012
But now we are released from the Law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7:6
Most of you know that a week or two ago Charles Colson died.
If you read the papers from the late 1960s and the early 1970s, you knew Chuck Colson was an important guy. He smoked, drank, and sat at the table with powerful people like a U.S. president.
You would also know that Charles Colson was not necessarily a good guy. He was, with others, convicted and sentenced for his involvement with the Watergate scandal. That's what you would know if you read the papers from the 1970s.
If you read the papers from 2012, if you waded through the articles and obituaries which reported Colson's passing, you would meet a man who was involved with prison ministry, with defending the Christian faith, and pointing people to the Savior.
It is almost as if Charles Colson was two different people.
Maybe that's because he was two different people. There was Charles Colson the sinner, and Charles Colson the saved saint.
If you take a look at the Gospels, you will quickly see that when an individual meets Jesus, he must change. Now it is possible that a person, having seen the Savior, could become worse than he was originally. The Jewish Sanhedrin and the Pharisees could be numbered in that category.
Far more often Jesus changed people for the better.
When the Holy Spirit put a repentant heart and saving faith into an individual, that person would be altered in a most wonderful way. Tax collectors gave back what they had stolen; murderers were made into apostles, and suicidal jailers had joy restored in their homes.
Just as importantly, we need to remember Jesus has done the same wonderful thing for us.
When we entered this world, we were sinners. Granted, we were novice sinners, and at the beginning of our lives both size and coordination kept us from actively pursuing many sins, which would someday be commonplace.
Still, through His means of grace the Holy Spirit reclaimed us, recycled us, and made it possible for us to glorify the Savior with the things we did and said. He set us free from the Law and enabled us to live in a new way -- a way filled with light and hope, forgiveness and salvation.
That's what the Lord did for Charles Colson, and the thief on the cross, and the Samaritan woman at the well and ... you and me.
Meeting the Savior changes people. Thank God He has changed us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the Psalmist prayed for a clean heart; the lepers asked for bodily healing, and a Samaritan woman needed a Savior to straighten out her life. For the changes You made in these people, I give thanks. Most of all I rejoice in the saving changes You have made in me. May I live as a transformed servant of the Savior. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries