Have You Been Transformed?


Have You Been Transformed?
Exploring the Meaning of Repentance

Richard Hollerman

 

The majority of the earth’s people are living in the realm of the world, directing their lives according to the standards and values of this present age, allowing their heart to be wedded to the passing pleasures and treasures of the present, and under the judgment that God places on those who do not know Him. 

God says that nearly all of the world’s people are “separate from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).  He says that they are “dead” in their “trespasses and sins” and walk (or live) “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (vv. 1-2).  He describes this orientation in graphic terms as “the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (4:17-18).  Sad and hopeless indeed is the condition of people who don’t have God and are separated from Jesus Christ our Lord.  Yet this describes the world in general!  This is the hopeless condition that God wants to rescue us from!  But it doesn’t come automatically.  Unless God Himself offers a solution to this dreadful state of destruction, we all are helpless, hopeless, and deserving of hell!

God, with deep and expressive love, gave His only Son—Jesus Christ—to take our sins on Himself when He died on the cross.  Paul explains it in this way: “While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . Having now been justified [accepted as right] by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:6, 8-9).  Then God raised Christ from the dead so that He would be the means of delivering us from our alienated state of spiritual death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-22).  In this way, Jesus Christ was able to reconcile us to God the Father so that we might be His spiritual children and be with Him forever.

This is Good News!  God has provided the only means for the forgiveness of your sins, your new birth into His family, reconciliation to His loving favor, eternal life, and a home with Him in heaven.  However, to be accepted by God and receive these salvation blessings, He requires that we lose our life!  That’s right.  He wants us to be willing to give our life to Jesus Christ in humble, submissive, and total surrender.  This is expressed in different ways in the Word of God.  Thoughtfully notice the following:

 

1.     You must humble yourself before God.

Pride is one of the chief barriers between us and God.  For this reason, God requires that you admit your helplessness to save yourself and look to Him for mercy.  Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12; cf. James 4:10).  Jesus said that we must humble ourselves as a little child if we wish to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3-4).  Are you willing to renounce all pride and self-sufficiency—and humble yourself before God?

 

2.     You must place God first in your life.

Most people want to be their own “boss” in life and make their own decisions and plans.  Most are oriented toward self—rather than God.  Notice the first command of God: “You shall have no other gods before [or in addition to] Me” (Exodus 20:3).  Jesus declared, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).  He is the one God (1 Corinthians 8:6) and the only God (1 Timothy 1:17)—thus we must be totally yielded to Him alone!  He must have no rivals—whether a job, a possession, a person, entertainment, or money.

 

3.     You must be willing to die to yourself, your sin, and the world.

Since you have sinned—as we all have—it is essential that you die to that which is responsible for your condemnation and spiritual death.  This is why the Bible says that we must “die to sin” (Romans 6:2, 11) and our old self must be “crucified” with Christ (v. 6; Galatians 2:20).  We must renounce this enemy of our soul!  Further, we must “crucify the flesh” along with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).  Beyond this, we must be crucified to the world and the world to us (6:14).  This means that we must turn our back on the sin that most people take for granted.  We must renounce the flesh that drags us down in sin.  We must renounce the person we used to be and we must turn from the attractive allurements of the world—even the very thought patterns of the world!  Have you personally died to your sins, the world, the flesh, and even yourself?

 

4.     You must be born again spiritually.

We all have been born physically through a human mother.  This makes it possible for you to live a physical life on earth.  But God requires that you also be born spiritually by Him so that you might be fit to live spiritually with Him in His eternal family, in His eternal Kingdom.  Jesus gives no other option!  He warns, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . You must be born again” (John 3:3, 5, 7).  The Bible says that we must be “born again . . . through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).  As we respond to God’s Word with living faith, we will be spiritually born (see also James 1:18).  Have you personally been born of water and the Holy Spirit?

 

5.     You must love God passionately and uncompromisingly.

Jesus says that the greatest command is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).  We must love God before our husband or wife, before our children or parents, and before our friends (Matthew 10:34-37).  Our overwhelming love for God must be so intense, so earnest, so exclusive that all other legitimate love would be considered “hatred” in comparison (Luke 14:26).  If ever you must choose between pleasing your loved ones and God—you must always choose God!  (Matthew 10:37).  He requires exclusive allegiance and unrivaled devotion.

 

6.     You must choose to deny yourself and your self-focus.

Jesus Christ knew that He was the only way of salvation and that anyone who would want to be accepted by God must come through Him—alone!  He declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).  He said that we must leave all behind to follow Him: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).  He then showed how serious this commitment would be: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (v. 35).  He stated that we must renounce our self-focus and our earthly perspective in order to follow Him: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.  If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me” (John 12:25-26; cf. Luke 14:26).  All in all, the Lord Jesus calls on us to leave our past life behind and launch out to a new life with Him as the center!

 

7.     You must become a new person with new motives, new pleasures, new perspectives, new speech, new habits, and an entirely new life.

So radical is the transformation that God works in us by the Spirit that we become like new persons!  Paul says it well: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We become “created in Christ Jesus” and “created in righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 2:10; 4:24).  When we come to Christ, we are to “keep seeking the things above” and are told to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).  Our bodies are given to God and we are to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2).  You are to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind” and are to “put on the new self” in the likeness of God that has new aspirations, goals, desires, and an entirely new lifestyle (Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:9-10). Does this describe you and your own experience? 

 

8.     You must fully repent and renounce all known sin.

Although most people know little or nothing of this, Jesus plainly tells us that we cannot be saved from sin, death, and hell unless we sincerely repent of all our sins.  Repentance is a change of mind and heart that results in a change of life and relationships.  Jesus declared, “Unless you repent, you will . . . perish” (Luke 13: 3, 5).  Peter says that the Lord is “not wishing for any to perish [in hell] but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Yes, we will perish and be lost in our sin unless we humble ourselves to the point of repenting and turning from all known sin in our life.  Peter commanded, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).  He also said, “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (3:19).  Paul likewise said these sobering words: “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (17:30).  He said that we all need to “repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (26:20). 

When you repent of your sins, God wants you to demonstrate this dying to sin by being buried in baptism and rising from the waters of baptism to live a new life (Romans 6:1-5).  This may be called “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), but it is more than this!  It is a baptism that brings you to Jesus Christ and expresses your faith in Him, your repentance before God, and your commitment to a new life in Him (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Colossians 2:11-13). This sincere and deep repentance means that we will forsake our sins (Proverbs 28:13), flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7), and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (v. 8).  Thankfully, God Himself will help you to repent (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25).  Have you truly repented of all known sin and begun to live a life of complete devotion and obedience to God?

 

What Will You Do?

Has God shown you the importance of your own repentance and transformation?  Do you now see how crucial it is that you have a deep change of mind, surrender your heart, turn from all your sins, renounce all of your self-centered attitudes, yield your will to God, and commit your life to God by coming to Jesus Christ for His free salvation?  


Have You Been Transformed?
Exploring the Meaning of Repentance

Richard Hollerman

 

The majority of the earth’s people are living in the realm of the world, directing their lives according to the standards and values of this present age, allowing their heart to be wedded to the passing pleasures and treasures of the present, and under the judgment that God places on those who do not know Him. 

God says that nearly all of the world’s people are “separate from Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).  He says that they are “dead” in their “trespasses and sins” and walk (or live) “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (vv. 1-2).  He describes this orientation in graphic terms as “the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (4:17-18).  Sad and hopeless indeed is the condition of people who don’t have God and are separated from Jesus Christ our Lord.  Yet this describes the world in general!  This is the hopeless condition that God wants to rescue us from!  But it doesn’t come automatically.  Unless God Himself offers a solution to this dreadful state of destruction, we all are helpless, hopeless, and deserving of hell!

God, with deep and expressive love, gave His only Son—Jesus Christ—to take our sins on Himself when He died on the cross.  Paul explains it in this way: “While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . Having now been justified [accepted as right] by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (Romans 5:6, 8-9).  Then God raised Christ from the dead so that He would be the means of delivering us from our alienated state of spiritual death (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 20-22).  In this way, Jesus Christ was able to reconcile us to God the Father so that we might be His spiritual children and be with Him forever.

This is Good News!  God has provided the only means for the forgiveness of your sins, your new birth into His family, reconciliation to His loving favor, eternal life, and a home with Him in heaven.  However, to be accepted by God and receive these salvation blessings, He requires that we lose our life!  That’s right.  He wants us to be willing to give our life to Jesus Christ in humble, submissive, and total surrender.  This is expressed in different ways in the Word of God.  Thoughtfully notice the following:

 

1.     You must humble yourself before God.

Pride is one of the chief barriers between us and God.  For this reason, God requires that you admit your helplessness to save yourself and look to Him for mercy.  Jesus said, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12; cf. James 4:10).  Jesus said that we must humble ourselves as a little child if we wish to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3-4).  Are you willing to renounce all pride and self-sufficiency—and humble yourself before God?

 

2.     You must place God first in your life.

Most people want to be their own “boss” in life and make their own decisions and plans.  Most are oriented toward self—rather than God.  Notice the first command of God: “You shall have no other gods before [or in addition to] Me” (Exodus 20:3).  Jesus declared, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).  He is the one God (1 Corinthians 8:6) and the only God (1 Timothy 1:17)—thus we must be totally yielded to Him alone!  He must have no rivals—whether a job, a possession, a person, entertainment, or money.

 

3.     You must be willing to die to yourself, your sin, and the world.

Since you have sinned—as we all have—it is essential that you die to that which is responsible for your condemnation and spiritual death.  This is why the Bible says that we must “die to sin” (Romans 6:2, 11) and our old self must be “crucified” with Christ (v. 6; Galatians 2:20).  We must renounce this enemy of our soul!  Further, we must “crucify the flesh” along with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).  Beyond this, we must be crucified to the world and the world to us (6:14).  This means that we must turn our back on the sin that most people take for granted.  We must renounce the flesh that drags us down in sin.  We must renounce the person we used to be and we must turn from the attractive allurements of the world—even the very thought patterns of the world!  Have you personally died to your sins, the world, the flesh, and even yourself?

 

4.     You must be born again spiritually.

We all have been born physically through a human mother.  This makes it possible for you to live a physical life on earth.  But God requires that you also be born spiritually by Him so that you might be fit to live spiritually with Him in His eternal family, in His eternal Kingdom.  Jesus gives no other option!  He warns, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. . . . You must be born again” (John 3:3, 5, 7).  The Bible says that we must be “born again . . . through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).  As we respond to God’s Word with living faith, we will be spiritually born (see also James 1:18).  Have you personally been born of water and the Holy Spirit?

 

5.     You must love God passionately and uncompromisingly.

Jesus says that the greatest command is to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).  We must love God before our husband or wife, before our children or parents, and before our friends (Matthew 10:34-37).  Our overwhelming love for God must be so intense, so earnest, so exclusive that all other legitimate love would be considered “hatred” in comparison (Luke 14:26).  If ever you must choose between pleasing your loved ones and God—you must always choose God!  (Matthew 10:37).  He requires exclusive allegiance and unrivaled devotion.

 

6.     You must choose to deny yourself and your self-focus.

Jesus Christ knew that He was the only way of salvation and that anyone who would want to be accepted by God must come through Him—alone!  He declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).  He said that we must leave all behind to follow Him: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).  He then showed how serious this commitment would be: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (v. 35).  He stated that we must renounce our self-focus and our earthly perspective in order to follow Him: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.  If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me” (John 12:25-26; cf. Luke 14:26).  All in all, the Lord Jesus calls on us to leave our past life behind and launch out to a new life with Him as the center!

 

7.     You must become a new person with new motives, new pleasures, new perspectives, new speech, new habits, and an entirely new life.

So radical is the transformation that God works in us by the Spirit that we become like new persons!  Paul says it well: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We become “created in Christ Jesus” and “created in righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 2:10; 4:24).  When we come to Christ, we are to “keep seeking the things above” and are told to “set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).  Our bodies are given to God and we are to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2).  You are to be “renewed in the spirit of your mind” and are to “put on the new self” in the likeness of God that has new aspirations, goals, desires, and an entirely new lifestyle (Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:9-10). Does this describe you and your own experience? 

 

8.     You must fully repent and renounce all known sin.

Although most people know little or nothing of this, Jesus plainly tells us that we cannot be saved from sin, death, and hell unless we sincerely repent of all our sins.  Repentance is a change of mind and heart that results in a change of life and relationships.  Jesus declared, “Unless you repent, you will . . . perish” (Luke 13: 3, 5).  Peter says that the Lord is “not wishing for any to perish [in hell] but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Yes, we will perish and be lost in our sin unless we humble ourselves to the point of repenting and turning from all known sin in our life.  Peter commanded, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38).  He also said, “Repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away” (3:19).  Paul likewise said these sobering words: “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent” (17:30).  He said that we all need to “repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance” (26:20). 

When you repent of your sins, God wants you to demonstrate this dying to sin by being buried in baptism and rising from the waters of baptism to live a new life (Romans 6:1-5).  This may be called “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), but it is more than this!  It is a baptism that brings you to Jesus Christ and expresses your faith in Him, your repentance before God, and your commitment to a new life in Him (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Colossians 2:11-13). This sincere and deep repentance means that we will forsake our sins (Proverbs 28:13), flee from the wrath to come (Matthew 3:7), and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (v. 8).  Thankfully, God Himself will help you to repent (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25).  Have you truly repented of all known sin and begun to live a life of complete devotion and obedience to God?

 

What Will You Do?

Has God shown you the importance of your own repentance and transformation?  Do you now see how crucial it is that you have a deep change of mind, surrender your heart, turn from all your sins, renounce all of your self-centered attitudes, yield your will to God, and commit your life to God by coming to Jesus Christ for His free salvation?  

 

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