Eric Metaxes relates in his book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask) that Buzz Aldrin and Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement:
“This is the LM pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
He then ended radio communication; and there on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and took communion. Very few people had ever heard that Aldrin was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and lived his life as a person who was found and transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He was not trying to flaunt his Christianity, but recognizing the historic importance of his situation, wished to acknowledge the “One” who had brought him to this time and place.
When John wrote his Epistles, he too was sharing out of a life that had also been transformed.
Originally, the Lord Jesus himself nicknamed John a ‘Son of Thunder’. One day, he actually asked Jesus to strike a whole village with lightning, because they refused to extend hospitality to the disciples. However, by the time John wrote his Epistles, he was mature in the faith, and had changed. He no longer was the same man who first met the Lord on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
For many people today, there is the idea that when you meet up with Jesus, you become instantly perfect. People tell you they have been saved, and you instantly expect perfection, which is seldom ever the case.
“Reconciled to Him. That is Salvation.”
Salvation is however, that wonderful moment when you realize you are a sinner, and ask Jesus for forgiveness. In that moment, you are forgiven by the Lord of all your past. You also discover that you are reconciled to Him. That is Salvation.
Now while God extends undeserved forgiveness, which we call Grace or being Born Again, we are like a baby.
We must learn to walk and talk and live, just as any newborn baby does. It takes time and teaching.
My own children fell many times as they learned to walk, and made some hilarious mistakes as they learned to talk. God, like parents, will look on the mistakes, and help to correct them. However, people outside the family unit are sometimes not quite so understanding or forgiving.
There is a verse in Hebrews chapter six that speaks of “going on unto perfection.” I looked that up the first time I read it.
The word ‘perfection’ in the Greek is simply, ‘maturity’. John had reached that place, but paid a price to get there. He once forbad people to pray in Jesus Name for others to be healed, but the Lord corrected him. He was also disparaged by the other disciples for asking of Jesus, special consideration in the coming Kingdom. His brother James was cruelly murdered in the Temple by the order of King Herod. Lastly, John was arrested and imprisoned on the Island of Patmos; a place used for the banishment of criminals and political and religious troublemakers.
He could have said, “Why me?” but he kept on looking to God, keeping his relationship with the Lord open.
It was here, away from the interruptions and concerns of ministering to the churches, that the Lord Jesus appeared to him, and gave him the visions of the end times, which, you can read for yourself in Revelation, the last book of the Bible.
God entrusted John with great truth and responsibility because he had sustained his relationship with the Lord, irrespective of the circumstances he encountered.
When my godly Christian wife watched her father die of painful stomach cancer, she became quite angry with God for a while.
After her grief subsided, she asked God for an answer. One night she woke up from a deep sleep, convinced she had heard from the Lord.
She told me that the Lord had spoken to her in a dream, and said, “I am not preparing my people for this life, but for the life to come. Suffering and sickness are only allowed: to bring you to the place where you can trust me; and mature to the place where you are ready for the life to come.”
This is the secret of a Transformed life.