Monday, January 2, 2012

A Work Unfinished

    The story is told about a distinguished carver who set out to create a great masterpiece in ivory. For many years he labored and labored until the piece began to take on a beautiful form.  He only needed a little more effort and the work would be finished.  Then, for some reason, the artist lost interest.  He cast aside the partially finished carving and refused to take the final steps that would have produced an outstanding piece of art.
    It is difficult to understand the motivation that would thus throw away the conscientious toil of a lifetime.
    The road to Christianity is something like that carving: the sincere searcher finds little difficulty in accepting a faith based on the Bible.
    Likewise, he is willing to find a new direction and is happy to confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
    There also does not seem to be a problem with repentance of past sins, but immersion seems to be a stumbling block.  They ask the question: “Why should one submit to so humbling a process?”
    And so this person refuses to take the final step that brings one into Christ Jesus and that makes us part of His body, the church; unwilling to finish the beautiful carving.
    “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).
    This, then, is still not the finish, for after this new life is born, it must be kept alive by steadfastly feeding upon the word of God and putting it into continuous practice.
    “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25)
    The carving must not only be completed, but it must also be used.

- Author unknown, via
THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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