From my early school days I remember seeing those classic evolutionary diagrams: humble amoeba at one end and Homo sapiens at the other. Even at my tender age the logic was pretty plain to grasp – things start small and simple and then over time they grow and become more complex.
The fly in the ointment for that way of thinking came when I heard a molecular biologist explaining that the complexity was “in from the beginning”, a simple amoeba is no more simple than a man, the man is just bigger.
Well enough talk of evolution, let me draw a parallel to our ‘evolution’, our development and growth in Christian faith. When someone comes to faith in Christ – so for example they read and respond to Jesus’ words in John’s gospel: John 7:37-38 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”, it is very important for people to remember that God’s saving work is “in from the beginning”.
So how does this work out in practice? Well, it is not at all uncommon for people to root their identity, their self-worth, their feeling of self-regard in their degree of love to Jesus, their faithfulness to Him, even to the relative infrequency of their big sins. But all of this thinking is forgetting something really crucial and that is that God’s love, His salvation, His complete acceptance of us is “in from the beginning”.
May our acceptance with God never be considered as some kind of progression from amoeba to Saint – instead, once we have truly believed, then we can never ever be more accepted with God.