I recently confided with a friend that I no longer believe everything I believed years ago. He asked me how my beliefs have changed, and following my answer, he directed me to the Christian Bible, New Testament book of James.
I have read the New Testament several times, but when I read the book of James this time, it gave me goose flesh! One verse called out to me, which sums the result of my belief system in a nutshell. It, to me, is the “bottom line” of my Christian walk.
James 1:21 (from the Amplified Bible):
So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
Most of us have learned that our baptism signals the beginning of cleansing our souls as we die to the old and begin again as new creatures in Christ. Through our baptism we are able, with the help of God through Christ Jesus, to begin to rid ourselves of the uncleanness that is rampant in our imperfect relationships with ourselves, God, and other human beings.
James 1:21 encourages us to accept Jesus Christ in our hearts as the Word of God. When we are open to the Word, we are surely transformed and amble toward true relationship with our Father in Heaven.
Through this simple verse, we are promised a salvation that is apparent here on Earth as our souls secure the assurance of a better life through eternity—a lasting, fully encompassing salvation.
We each can look into our heart of hearts for this transformation and salvation, which begins with our accepting the Word, Christ.
The entire New Testament is rich with promise, encouragement, guidance, and warnings as well. I was truly blessed by my friend’s suggestion that I read the book of James.
I thank God every day for this salvation, and His help in my becoming an individual worthy of such a magnificent salvation. Have faith.
Every week the traditional Lutheran church service offers this song to our Lord:
Create in me a clean heart, oh God,
And renew a right Spirit within me,
Cast me not away from Thy presence,
And take not Thy Holy Spirit from me,
Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me with Thy Free Spirit. AMEN!