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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

22 July 2020: Brian Blogg, Petersfield United Reformed Church

God changes people

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s tragic death in America there is the risk that evils perpetrated in the past be airbrushed from history. Let us take care for, as has been said before, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.”

Statues, memorials etc, currently being removed or defaced, commemorate not the evil deeds of those that they represent but the good and honourable things done later in life. Perhaps it should serve to remind every one of us that we are all capable of good and evil! As part of his perfect creation God created man in his own image but it was man who spoiled that image and there is probably not one of us who would want all our past deeds and thoughts to be laid bare for all to see.

Yet God is in the business of restoring that image, together with his entire creation, to its original state. The process begins as, one by one, we come to the foot of Christ’s cross humbly in repentance, acknowledging our brokenness. From that point God starts to change us by putting his Holy Spirit within. But it is a gradual process which the apostle Paul explained to the church at Corinth as “being transformed into the same image (as Jesus) from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit."

Paul himself was an example of this turning from a persecutor of Christians to himself being persecuted. In the 18th century John Newton, captain of a slave trading ship, became a Christian but it was many years later that he joined the movement to abolish the slave trade. God changes people who he then uses to change the world. Is he changing us?

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