This devotional first appeared in https://www.revivalandreformation.org
And to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:23, 24, NRSV.
Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, people saw themselves unclean, their life’s aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created them understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however fallen, He beheld a child of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of divine relationship.
“God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Looking upon people in their suffering and degradation, Christ perceived ground for hope where appeared only despair and ruin. Wherever there existed a sense of need, there He saw opportunity for uplifting. Souls tempted, defeated, feeling themselves lost, ready to perish, He met, not with denunciation, but with blessing.
The beatitudes were His greeting to the whole human family. Looking upon the vast throng gathered to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, He seemed for the moment to have forgotten that He was not in heaven, and He used the familiar salutation of the world of light. From His lips flowed blessings as the gushing forth of a long-sealed fountain.
Turning from the ambitious, self-satisfied favorites of this world, He declared that those were blessed who, however great their need, would receive His light and love. To the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the persecuted, He stretched out His arms, saying, “Come unto me, … and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
In every human being He discerned infinite possibilities. He saw men and women as they might be, transfigured by His grace–in “the beauty of the Lord our God” (Psalm 90:17). Looking upon them with hope, He inspired hope. Meeting them with confidence, He inspired trust…. In many a heart that seemed dead to all things holy were awakened new impulses. To many a despairing one there opened the possibility of a new life.–Education, 79, 80.