This week, guest blogger Martin Rogers discusses the changes that come of accepting Christ as our Savior:
I once heard somebody use an analogy that God in his mercy lowers a rope to us and we must hang on to it in order to be saved. If you have that same picture, or something similar, I’d like to help change it.
God is the shepherd leaving the 99 and going after the stray, and keeping on until He finds us. God keeps after us, in love. We are like the lost coin, and He is like the woman who searches until we are found, and He celebrates. Jesus showed us that the kingdom of God is worth everything in the parables of the field with the treasure and the pearl of great price.
But do any of us really have anything of value? Scripture reveals in 2 Peter 3:10-12 that everything we might think of as ours will burn up one day. I believe God sees each of us as the treasure in the field—the pearl of great price. Christ, who had everything, gave it all up to come and save us for Himself. In the picture of the Father lowering a rope of salvation to earth, Christ is at the end of the rope, loving me, holding on to me—to each of us—pulling us to heaven, if only we let Him. We, in our strength, cannot hold on. Christ does it for us.
Christ died for my sins—that’s a sobering thought. I am responsible for Him dying on the cross. But I also know that I’m important enough to Him to do that. Any one of us, if we were the only one to respond to Him and be saved, He would do it all for that one.
Christ died for my sins. But what is sin? How do we know it? First, God’s law shows us our sins:
“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”
—1 Timothy 1:9-10 KJV
Then, Jeremiah joins Ezekiel in showing us how the changes come in our walk with God:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
—Jeremiah 31:33 KJV
And again, Paul reminds us of heart changes in Hebrews:
“ For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.”
—Hebrews 8:10, 11 KJV
Are these changes of our own doing? Jeremiah tells of our power to change ourselves:
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
—Jeremiah 13:23 KJV
God is the one who works the change in us:
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
—Philippians 3:20, 21 KJV
God is doing all this in us it’s not us doing things to make ourselves better. This seems too good to be true. But here’s the good news: it is true! How does this happen? Is the answer faith? Where do we get faith? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog . . .
Adapted from a sermon written and presented by Martin Rogers, November 2004. Inspired by The Change by Steven Curtis Chapman.