These last four weeks we have been studying Acts 9. As we studied this chapter we witnessed the incredible change that God brought about in the life of Saul and this past week we spent time reflecting on the change that God brought about in the apostle Peter.
It reminded us of the reality that the Bible is crystal clear that a person can not call on the name of the Lord and remain unchanged. I had the privilege of being at the T4G conference this year and I really appreciated Kevin DeYoung’s sermon where he outlined from 1 John the three changes that the Lord makes clear will happen when we have come to know the Lord.
A person’s theology changes when they comes to faith.
Before salvation, you may have all kinds of opinions as to who Jesus Christ is, but your Lord and Savior was not included in the list. However, when the Spirit of God opened your eyes to the Gospel your theology changed.
1 John 4:14,15 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
A person is also changed morally.
A believer should not do the things that they used to do. Your pattern of life should be changed from what it once was. The sins that you used to do habitually, you no longer do. This doesn’t mean that you are sinless, but you no longer look at sin in the same way. You have been transformed!
1 John 3:8,9 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
The change is obvious.
1 John 3:24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. No longer living by your own rules, but by His Word.
Lastly, you change relationally – you no longer are in relationships for “you”.
You no longer determine whether a relationship is worth your time based on whether they make you happy and make you feel good. When we understand that Jesus loves us we are no longer seeking our self-worth based on whatever else everyone else thinks of us…the God of the universe loves every believer and because of that we can now love freely.
1 John 4:19-21 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Have you changed in these ways?
If you haven’t than you should be greatly concerned about your salvation. The best way to measure how you are doing is to talk with those around you. If you are in Christ, the change will be obvious.
When we read things like the preceding our first reaction is to try harder to make that change happen. However, what we see clearly in the Scriptures is that the change happens as we spend time with our Saviour.
John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Alexander McLaren described the change that happens to a believer as they spend time with the Saviour.
“The poor bit of cloth which has held some precious piece of solid perfume will retain fragrance for many a day afterwards, and will bless the scentless air by giving it forth. The man who keeps close to Christ, and has folded Him in his heart, will, like the poor cloth, give forth a sweetness not his own that will gladden and refresh many nostrils. Live in the light, and you will become light. Keep near Christ, and you will be Christlike. Love Him, and love will do to you what it does to many a wedded pair, and to many kindred hearts: it will transfuse into you something of the characteristics of the object of your love. It is impossible to trust Christ, to obey Christ, to hold communion with Him, and to live beside Him, without becoming like Him. And if such be our inward experience, so will be our outward appearance.”
We do not change by trying harder, we change by submitting our lives to the Lord and by growing in love with Him more and more every day. Ultimately, we see that change is possible only through the Lord. He makes us a new creation when we are saved and then He continues to change us until one day when we are in His presence we will be completely changed. To Him be the glory!