Why doesn’t my life doesn’t seem any different?
That is a very important question, and as I’ve taught this, it always comes up. And it’s a pretty significant theological issue, and when people ask $25,000 questions, you know, here in two or three minutes max, I don’t want to give you a 25-cent answer. But let’s get very clear on theology. Becoming a Christian is about having your sins forgiven, about having a relationship with God. That’s based on what Jesus did on the cross. He died in your place, He rose from the dead, and you receive that as a free gift. Now you begin a journey. The big word for that is “sanctification.” You grow in holiness. If a person is genuinely a believer, they’ve turned from their sin and received the free gift of God, the scripture teaches our lives will begin to change. But it also teaches we have hiccups, we stumble. I mean, we have one man in the New Testament that we know for sure was a believer and was still involved in terrible sin, and God says, hey, I don’t kick you out of the family, I discipline you.
With that said, however, you know, there’s a lot going on today that where people have what I call intellectualism or just belief-ism. If I believe a set of facts about Jesus and intellectually agree that Jesus is the son of God, but there’s no heart change, there’s no will, there’s no relational connection, my fear is there may be many people who think they’re in God’s family, there’s absolutely no change in their life and they need to, according to scripture, examine themselves to see if they’re in the faith.
Here’s the deal. What you need to do is, if you’re uncertain of whether you’re genuinely a Christian, is you need to repent, you need to say, Lord, I want to turn away from anything holding me up inside, and I want to trust you and you alone to forgive my sin. And if you’re sure you’re a Christian and you’re saying to yourself, you know, I’m torn and I just — I know God wants me to surrender. This is an issue of lordship and discipleship.
And here’s the deal. God has a dream for your life. He doesn’t want second-rate stuff for you. And surrender is obedience. You know, it’s a lot like baptism. You know, baptism, getting wet never saves anyone, but everyone who genuinely is born-again wants to put on the uniform. They want to obey God. And we obey God outwardly to reflect inwardly what’s occurred. Surrender is obedience. It’s the channel through which His best and biggest blessings flow. Don’t do anything less than trust Him as your savior and then surrender to Him as your Lord.
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