It Takes Time To Become Reformed

There are at least three things to learn in every such transition: a new vocabulary, a new way of thinking, and a new way of speaking.

You asked someone what this teaching was called and they said, “It’s Reformed.” You said to yourself, “Okay. I am Reformed.” That’s wonderful. It really is. You are not alone. You have joined a tradition with roots as old as Scripture and as deep as the great Christian tradition and especially the Reformed tradition and churches. Lots of other people are experiencing what you are experiencing. They too are discovering that the Bible teaches us that salvation is utterly by grace, i.e., by God’s sovereign favor, that God gives to us new life and true faith unconditionally, that he justifies us by his favor alone, through faith alone. In short, it is all a gift. 

 

Anything worth doing takes time. Malcom Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to really master a significant skill. Whether that is true in every instance is open to debate but common experience tells us that valuable skills are are not usually gained easily or quickly. I am not a video gamer but I am told that those who become good at it—good enough to make a living at it—have spent a great deal of time and energy becoming skilled. Were one to move to another country, it would take some time to learn the language, the customs, and the culture of your new home. I know this from experience. The grocery stores are different. Even the food that looks familiar and seems to be the same thing is not always what you used to buy and eat back home. The first time we bought ice cream in the UK we discovered that we had purchased some sort of post-WWII ice cream substitute and that was only the beginning. The coins were different. Expressions that are considered the epitome of politeness on the American plains are considered downright rude, in some contexts, in the UK. Warning to Yanks abroad: the word pants has an entirely different meaning in the UK than it has in the states. Further, be careful to whom you say, “Yes sir.”

Acquiring a new set of skills or adapting to a new culture takes time. There are at least three things to learn in every such transition: a new vocabulary, a new way of thinking, and a new way of speaking. Let us say that you began listening to the AGR broadcast on one of our great stations or via the podcast. On it your heard Chris and others saying the same sorts of things that you have been discovering for yourself in Scripture. You asked someone what this teaching was called and they said, “It’s Reformed.” You said to yourself, “Okay. I am Reformed.” That’s wonderful. It really is. You are not alone. You have joined a tradition with roots as old as Scripture and as deep as the great Christian tradition and especially the Reformed tradition and churches. Lots of other people are experiencing what you are experiencing. They too are discovering that the Bible teaches us that salvation is utterly by grace, i.e., by God’s sovereign favor, that God gives to us new life and true faith unconditionally, that he justifies us by his favor alone, through faith alone. In short, it is all a gift. Sometimes people use the shorthand, “the doctrines of grace.” So the are. These doctrines are at the heart of what it is to be Reformed. This is a great beginning.

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