In 2008, during the presidential campaign, the slogan “Change We Can Believe In” was brought to our attention… over, and over, and over, and over again! It was the slogan chosen for the Obama presidential campaign in an attempt to capture the desires of the electorate. Apparently, based upon the result of the campaign, the slogan had hit a nerve with the people.
The desire for genuine change applies to many, many people, cutting across all age, gender and race barriers. Talk to almost anyone in today’s time… they are unsatisfied, and wanting change to take place in all aspects of their lives. The problem comes when we impatiently demand change, any change, without considering its end results. Many times this type of change leaves us worse off than we were prior to the change.
The Lord helps us to recognize the most important, beneficial change that a person can experience in their life. Let’s see what type of change will always lead to our benefit and satisfaction…
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ,… (2Co 5:17-18)
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)
In 2 Cor 5:17-18 – we read about the greatest change a person can experience in their life… this change is brought about by God in the heart of man:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” - In other words, just as God created us at our conception by giving us our physical life; so too, He can also recreate us, giving us our spiritual life through the work of Christ.
“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” – This change results in a transformation in our lifestyle and way of living. What we used to love we now hate (sin and rebellion to God) what we hated we now love (Obedience to Him based on His word).
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” – Finally, our first text reveals the creator of this great change… it is God (“all things are of God”). It is through His will and workings in our life that we experience this wonderful change. He changes us and brings us to Himself (“reconciles us”), through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. When Christ died on the cross, He was paying the penalty of the sins of His Father’s people (John 17:9-13). This payment results in the forgiveness of our sins and adoption into the family of God.
In our second text, Mark 1:14-15 teaches about our response to the Lord’s working in our heart…
“preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:” – This message of Christ was spoken to prepare mankind for His death and resurrection and the reception of a new life in Christ. This message was good news (“gospel”) of Christ.
“repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mar 1:14-15) – Here, our response to His intervention is described as belief and repentance. Remember how we said that we become a new creature when God intervenes in our life? We said that this change brought us a change of lifestyle and way of living.
The terms “believe” and “repent” reflect this change in our life as well:
“To repent” – means to change, especially to change our minds, to think differently about things.
“To believe” – has the idea of accepting something as absolute truth and relying on it.
Why are repentance and belief necessary responses to the Lord’s workings in our life?….
To become a new creature in Christ many of our old attitudes about sin, death, the Bible, and even the Lord Himself must change and we must come to believe a new set of truths. This is what becoming a new creature is all about… it is a life changing experience that revolutionizes the way we look at many different spiritual issues.
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:
For those of us who are saved, as “new creatures in Christ”, we should constantly review and reinforce the truths we have come to accept. By doing this, we are constantly reminding ourselves of the true nature of this world, our Lord, His Word, and eternity to come. (Roms 12:2).
For those who have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ, it is necessary to act upon the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… “repent ye and believe the Gospel”.
In other words.…
“Change your mind about your sin…. See your sin as harmful and an act of disobedience to the Almighty God, recognize your need to hate it and rid it from your life.”
“Change your mind about The Lord… See Him as your only hope of salvation, recognize He is the ultimate authority holder, who loves you and desires your worship. Look to Him as your only source of spiritual life.”
“Change your mind about your eternal status before God…. See that without Him you have committed sin and the guilt of your sin remains upon you. You deserve eternal punishment and, without Him, you cannot escape that judgment. But, through His intervention in your life, you can escape that punishment and know that someday you will enter eternity with Him”
“Change you mind about His Word, accept the fact that His Word is true, it can be relied upon, look into its message and see the way of salvation clearly revealed to you. Understand that His Word is a vital part of your daily walk of life and contains “His revealed will” to man in its entirety.”
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, rely on His death on the cross to pay the entire sin debt you have built up in your life. Realize He suffered for you so you could escape the eternal suffering of hell. Place your entire being at His mercy and accept that you can do nothing to save yourself… all you can do is rely on Him for your soul’s salvation.” (John 3:14-18)
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”