God gave me you to be my miracle.
That’s the banner over our relationships in the church. God performs the miracle of our growth in godliness through people — Holy-Spirit-filled people in our lives and churches.
These are the people sitting next to you in corporate worship this morning. Maybe another morning with the same people at the same building on the same day of the week begins feeling ordinary or natural. But there’s power in that room. What happens when God’s word sounds, his Spirit falls, and our prayers rise shakes whatever hold sin continues to have in our lives.
More Like Jesus
You receive the word with these people. You sing with these people. You give and serve and plan with these people. And you are made holy with this people. We grow in our faith and devotion and purity and joy in the context of this specific community of believers.
Russell Moore uncovers the corporate miracle of our sanctification in his chapter of the new book, Acting the Miracle. If we want to be more like Jesus, we can’t leave home without the church. It is God’s indispensible, irreplaceable means of making us holy. And our words play an especially important role in that process.
Miracles That Kill Sin
Moore speaks specifically to the miracles our words can be for one another. He writes, “The word of the church breaks the power of the deception of sin” (122). People all around you — people you love — are blind to their sin and therefore being consumed by it. They simply cannot see the futility and rebellion in which they are living.
And your words might make the miraculous difference. The timely application of Scripture, or rehearsal of the gospel, or warning of what’s to come, or gentle rebuke of sinful behavior, may save someone from eternal bondage, punishment, and death. By God’s grace and power, your words eternally save and sanctify — your words, the one resource we have that never runs dry.
Miracles That Subdue Satan
Our words confront sin, but they also expose and defeat the devil’s lies. Moore says more, “Beyond that, the word of the church breaks the power of Satan’s accusation” (123). Because we’re born wanting to prove ourselves worthy of God’s love, one of Satan’s favorite weapons is the irrational shame of canceled sin.
Repentance does require remorse, but not despair and depression. If our sin has been canceled (Colossians 2:14) and our condemnation called off (Romans 8:1), we shouldn’t live and act and feel like the unforgiven. But we do.
Your words can be the God-given reminder that Jesus paid it all, and hell has no claim on those who are his. The miracle is sinful people finding peace with an infinitely holy God — practically, not just theologically. You cannot put a price on this kind of peace, and you won’t experience it without the men and women God’s put in your life to preach it to you.
Small Groups and Big Miracles
After reading Acting the Miracle, you will know your need for God in the pursuit of holiness, but I hope you also see your need for him in other people. If you want to experience the miraculous, invest your life and gifts in others, in their needs, friendships, feelings, and holiness.
Find the friends that can walk the miracle with you. Look in your local church, but know that it probably has to be smaller than the church. Long term, you will not regret meeting regularly, and you just might be wowed by all that God does — large and small, once or ongoing — to make you all more like himself.
Russell Moore writes about the corporate dynamics of sanctification in Acting the Miracle: God’s Work and Ours in the Mystery of Sanctification, which includes contributions from John Piper, Kevin DeYoung, Ed Welch, David Mathis, and Jarvis Williams. The full PDF is now available.