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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stories of Change - Christ Redeems!

By Justin Edwards

The one who has been saved by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ experiences a real, tangible, inward change of the heart that leads to a life of sanctification.  Titus 2:12 tells us that grace

train[s] us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. 

We see in Galatians 5:22-23 that God manifests His character in us as we grow in grace:

the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

In Colossians 3:5-17, we see a contrast between the old man who was dead in his sins and facing the wrath of God yet to come, with the new man who has become a new creation in Christ to be a slave of His righteousness.  As we are conformed to the likeness of Jesus, the works of the flesh will no longer be manifest in us (see Galatians 5:19-21), and we are in fact commanded to crucify these things in our flesh and walk in newness of life:

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

If we are no longer slaves to our sin but slaves to God (Romans 6:22), let us walk in this reality as sons and daughters who want nothing more but to honor our King by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1-2).  Paul tells us in the third chapter of Colossians:

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Are these Scriptures a reality in your life?  Are you dwelling in the Word of God that it would dwell in you richly? Is grace teaching you to deny worldliness and ungodliness?  Are you learning to live a godly, self-controlled, righteous life in this present life?  Have the chains of sin been broken that you walk in newness of life, having crucified your flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24)?  

Jesus came to save His people from their sin.  He came to heal the sick.  Do you have yet to be saved, do you have yet to be healed from the disease of sin?  Do you wish to be made free?  The reality is that Jesus 

gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. - Titus 2:14  

Christ redeems and Christ purifies His people.  Do you want to be made pure?

The beauty of grace is not only that it saves us from God's wrath to come, but it saves us from the bondage of our sin.  The Hope of Christ is that we can be freed today, not just in the life to come.  God's grace not only saves us, but it changes us so that we experience the abundant life of Christ now

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. - John 8:34-36

The people in the following video know and remember a time when they were lost and hopeless.  Can you?  Can you identify with their stories?  All Christians can.  If you cannot, let's talk about it.

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