WHERE IS THE CHANGE?
by paul hoffmaster
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Seeing the Scripture and its promises to the Believer is truly an exciting venture. To read the Bible with the assurance of its validity is a reassuring asset to the Christian walk. The problem I have is seeing the fulfillment of these divinely expressed words in the lives of Believers. The statement of who a person is in Christ meets with jubilation, but to see the evidence exhibited in individuals is another thing. There is the miraculous description of new birth in which one is given a new heart. Scriptures abound with what we are in Christ when we accept Godís invitation. The problem is that there is little evidence of changed lives in those responding individuals. It is true there have been lives that have been dramatically changed to such a degree that people watchers have been amazed at their transformation. Yet, at other times, there is little or no change in the individual. I realize there is a process in which individuals grow up in the faith, but that process begins with a totally different heart. It is a rebirth, Born Again reality. Why, then, is there so much old nature in what people claim as a conversion experience?
The Bible is saturated with words describing the other side of conversion. If the Word is correct, then each Christian should be a living, walking, breathing, spiritual temple of the living God. It is within every Believer that the Triune God lives and dwells. Jesus earthly ministry affected multitudes. This same Jesus now reigns in the lives of His people, but the effect on the world seems to be minimal in comparison. Why is there so little difference in people who accept the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
Maybe the answer lies within the framework of oneís understanding of the Scripture. Being Born Again has been a Biblical concept that has been misrepresented and misunderstood. To experience this reality of being Born Again, one must come to the point of acknowledging that oneís present life ceases to exist, that the person who you once were is no longer a living individual. Christian society illustrates its lack of Biblical understanding by teaching that you have another individual co-existing within you and that you are, in effect, a spiritual schizophrenic. We are saved by faith. Our Faith is not only in the Triune God, but in His Word as well. Instead of fitting our new birth into our existing being, we must have faith that our previous life has been done away with and we are starting all over again! When we accepted Jesus Christ, our old being (nature) passed away and we became a new living being. (II Cor. 5:17) We must accept this by faith! We will have our old bodies, but the inner man has now become a new born individual created in the likeness of Him. Our new life parallels the path of the human body which desires milk and the basic staples of life. Understanding and grasping Godís nourishing Word, we begin to walk in newness of life. As we continue to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, the world begins to see the image of Christ wherever they look.
Being Born Again is not achieved by mimicking led prayers, but it is the falling on our knees at the altar of sacrifice and surrendering our lives. It is the dying of ourselves and the birthing of a new creation. This is where it all ends and starts. Being Born Again is not the fusing of the new being with the old being. It is a new beginning where former things have passed away and all things have become new. If we do not understand this, we have failed to understand Godís redeeming plan. Some believe that the experience of being Born Again is the same as asking Jesus to come into your heart. It is not seeking Jesusí presence in part of your life; rather, it is a heart transplant that bears the reality of the new birth. The Biblical word ďsavedĒ pertains to a deliverance or protection from the assaults of Satanís worldly kingdom. No matter what happens upon this planet called earth, the Born Again individual will be delivered from Godís judgment and Satanís reign of terror. That deliverance will not be by escapism but by the protection that God has around His people.
The question arises that if one is truly Born Again, why have we not walked in the light of the Word? Why is the church not living in the victory that the Scripture describes? If we have truly been Born Again, why are we displaying the same old nature with which we were first born? Take a look at Eve, the help mate of Adam. She began as God created her, but due to listening to the enticements of Satan, she birthed the sinful nature. By doubting Godís Word, she became susceptible to Satanís leading. Satan has used this same tactic in challenging the new creation in Christ. He attempts to get us to question Godís Word and to interpret its meaning for a self serving purpose. Think for a moment, how many times we have looked at the Scriptures and said to ourselves that God really did not mean what He said? Where did those thoughts come from? Babies have a tendency to desire whatever will make them comfortable or happy. Satan will throw every sensual pleasure to the Born Again individual. When we feel good, we are happy. Individual churches are birthed to cater to a feeling orientated experience. The old natures are resurrected and restated in the Born Again by mind games that Satan plays. It will not be long before we are experiencing two natures, the carnal and the Divine, which will be at war with each other. The Apostle Paul explained the reality of the dual nature when he shared his struggle between doing the things he did not want to do and not doing the things he wanted to do. (Rom. 7:14-25)
How does one live and exist with the new nature alone? Paul gave the answer when he said, ďI thank God through Jesus Christ our LordÖĒ (Rom. 7: 25) When all the challenges of life are waged against the Believer, he immediately realizes that victory has already been achieved through Jesus Christ. When Satan tries to deliver the package containing the dead issues of our past, we need to reject it with a return stamp that says, THAT PERSON NO LONGER LIVES HERE, RETURN TO SENDER! We, as Believers, need to spend time with our FATHER (God) and fellowship with our BROTHER (Jesus) while learning from our TUTOR (Holy Spirit). We are part of the family of God, so let us live like it! Babies desire to be with their mothers and fathers for all their needs are met. When are we going to desire continuous fellowship with our Creator? We need to be in such fellowship with God that the only time we are not conscious of Him is when we are asleep, and even then, the subconscious continues the intimacy.
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