2000-09-29 - Conversion of the Species
Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.
This summer I had the chance to visit London and did many of the traditional tourist things that Americans visiting London do. One thing I did was to visit Westminster Abbey. I had been there a few times before, but this time I noticed something I don't recall noticing in the past. Now if you have never been there, Westminster Abbey is a large church, or a small cathedral, where lots of famous people are buried. This time I noticed that Charles Darwin is buried there.
I was surprised that he would be there because his theory of evolution was not exactly the most popular "Christian" theory to be advanced in the 19th century. He certainly was at odds with much of the church. What I learned later is that he eventually rejected the theory of evolution and towards the end of his life made a profession of faith.
I always look for examples of how Christ changes lives. Sometimes I can see changed lives in history, where Christ takes someone who was profane or lived a lifestyle unbecoming of decent culture, and turns it around. Other times I meet someone who can speak wonderfully of how their life has been affected by Christ and transformed by a work of grace upon their heart. Other times I just need to look inside my own heart and I know that a real, substantial transformation has taken place.
Jesus Christ changes lives. Isn't that amazing? With all the self-help books and counselors out there, it is still Christ who ultimately changes lives. Other things may work as aids to transformation, but it is Christ who changes lives. It is good for me to remember this from time to time. My own efforts, to get holy, or live faithfully, are my duty, but in the end, I must rest in the One who really can transform and turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh.
Darwin is a historic example of this. There are many examples, as many examples as there will be saints in heaven. But from time to time, I think, we try to live in our own strength, forgetting that the showers of blessing and the seasons of mercy are not our creation, through our efforts, but God's power working--often working in and through us.
It is easy to fall into the trap of living like we are saving ourselves through our efforts. Doing more, working harder, giving selflessly, are all good things and things to be encouraged. But no matter how much we do, or achieve, grace is always a gift from outside of ourselves. We cannot create grace. In many ways this is so freeing, because we can rest in the Lord, and in His strength.
So amazingly Darwin is an encouragement to us. He is an example of the power of a risen Savior Who transforms lives. How good it is to encourage ourselves with such thoughts of the matchless grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,