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Change - Human or Divine

By Rev Dr Colin Peckham

Becoming a Christian means a radical change in the life.1 Realising that a change is necessary many people try to accomplish it in their own power and seek to bring some semblance of Christian order into their lives. There are various changes attempted such as:

An educational change

Some think that by educating our minds to think and assess situations and doctrine we would be on a level to understand the works of God. Education, it its thought, would help us to appreciate other cultures and see the great advantages brought through the Christian religion.

All this may be true, but the stark reality is that education cannot take away sin! We must stand before God and if our sins have not been forgiven we are condemned by His righteous judgement.

A social change

Many people formulate their own code of belief and behaviour and consider this an inviolable domain. Sometimes, because of their high social position, no-one dares to question them, and they enjoy a false sense of security. But however high they climb, and whatever circles they move in, their standing before God is not changed. Refinement and comfort, popularity and position, fame and power, cannot change us spiritually. We remain sinners before a holy God, deserving nothing but His wrath.

A reformational change

There are those who suppose that a good life is sufficient merit to gain them an entrance into heaven. They try to stop swearing, fiddling the tax man and they harm no-one. Occasionally they do a good deed and occasionally they read the Bible and pray. They are respectable members of the community. Many want to be like this. They succeed in eliminating bad habits and conform to a code of living of which they and the community approve. All this is highly commendable. But it is not sufficient.

They have failed to realise that 'All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags'2 and that 'not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy He saved us.'3 Our going to heaven does not depend upon whether our good works outweigh our bad works. Heaven is spotlessly pure. Nothing sinful will enter there. Even if our lives were admired for their moral rectitude, if our sin has not been dealt with we remain condemned before God.

A religious change

You might think, then, that religion must be the answer. So many good, sincere but wistful folk, give themselves to religion, seeking but never really finding. They enjoy the company of the people of God; they read the Bible; pray; enter into church activities; become office-bearers, teach in the Sunday School or sing in the choir; they are confirmed and take communion-and all the time there is an aching void which none of this can fill.

All these activities are highly commendable and desirable. They have a refining and formative influence on all who take part, but however good and gracious, they are not sufficient for the soul's salvation.

Is there then no hope? How can I be changed to inhabit eternity with God?

A regenerational change

Here lies the only answer! God has made a way by which man can approach Him and be saved for all eternity. His eternal decree is : 'The soul that sinneth it shall die!' The whole world is guilty and we all stand condemned before God. But just as surely as His justice demands the punishment, so surely does His love provide the Substitute. Jesus came, and he took upon Himself our sin and its consequences. Perhaps you know these facts but still have no assurance of salvation. For salvation consists not only in acknowledging the truth but In trusting ourselves to the One who died for us and believing that as we turn from every known sin and commit ourselves utterly to Him, His death avails for us now. Believing this we can receive new life-be regenerated.

Not only are our sins forgiven as we believe the good news, but we take from God the eternal life which He gives us in His Son.5 We are 'born again' of God's Spirit. Everlasting life is not something which we will receive only in the future-we have it now in a personal relationship with Christ Jesus. A Christian is one who experiences the forgiveness of God and enjoys the life of God.

In Christ we are completely changed. Have you been made anew? Will you not trust Him at this very moment to forgive you and come into your heart? If you do please let us know. We will count it a privilege to help you further.
2 Cor. 5:17
Isa. 64:6
Titus 3:5
Ezek. 18:4
1 Cor. 15:22