It is what often draws us to Jesus—the hope of a different life.  The burden of our sin is heavy.  We know that, no matter how hard we try, we will still be wicked.  We know that the burden will always be heavy, and getting heavier by the day.  The promise of a different life, the promise of a release of that burden—it is compelling.  The transformation we see in others’ lives, the peace we see in their actions—we long for that peace.

The transformation from Christ is just that compelling.

Reconciled to the Holy One

Transformation does not happen when we are still stuck in the mire of our sin-filled lives.  Transformation comes after a very important action—reconciliation.  Only through Jesus, because of His holy sacrifice and resurrection, can we be reconciled to God.  God knew this—He proivded the way for us to return to Him.

Read Ephesians 2:13-18.  What stands out to you?

We were once far off—but Jesus brought us near.  Do you live this reality every day?  Or do you allow your sin to bog you down and keep you from living in the freedom offered through Christ?  He came to bring you peace—live in it daily.

Read Romans 5:6-11.  What stands out to you?

When did the reconciliation come?

What did we do to gain the reconciliation?

Seeing that we did nothing to gain the reconciliation, the next logical question is whether we can do something to lose it.  This is a hard concept for many—we had no control over how the reconciliation came about so it can be uncomfortable knowing that we have no control on whether we lose it.  This uncomfortable reality is addressed in scripture.

Read Romans 10:8-13.  What are the promises given regarding our salvation?

“Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (vs. 10)

 Ephesians 1:13-14.  What stands out to you?

How is the Holy Spirit described in this passage?

Read 2 Corinthians 1:20-22.  What stands out to you?

If the promises of God are “yes” and the Holy Spirit is both the sealer and the guarantee of our salvation, can we do anything to lose our salvation?

What stands in the way of you believing this whole-heartedly?

Confess your unbelief to God.  He will forgive.  And He will restore you.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:20-21.  What stands out to you?

According to this passage, what are we commanded/implored to “be”?

“Being” reconciled is a state of being.  Just like “being mad” represents a current state, being reconciled is a current state of being.  It is a constant—or is it?

Do you currently live your life in a state of being reconciled to God?  What stands in the way of you doing that?

“Being” involves three steps.  1) Accept it; 2) Embrace it; 3) Live it.

Accepting your reconciliation means living in a forgiven state—not just that God has forgiven you, but also that you have forgiven yourself.  All those sins, past, present, and future, the ones you berate yourself over—they are forgiven.

God has given you a life of forgiveness—what stands in the way of you letting go of the guilt and accepting His forgiveness?

Whatever it is, you need to let it go.  You came to faith believing that God was bigger and wiser and more loving that you.  Do not continue to live in the captivity of your guilt simply because you do not understand how He could forgive you.  It is His decision.  He paid the price, and He longs for you to live like it is done.  Like taking three jobs to pay for a college education that scholarships already cover, you are building a self-imposed debt for a cost already paid.  Accept His forgiveness.  Accept His will.

Once you have accepted that He has forgiven you, the next stage is embracing it.  Be like the child with a new toy that they take everywhere with them, showing it to everyone with whom they come in contact, and talking about it incessantly.  God has forgiven you; embrace it—and bring it with you wherever you go.

The final stage is where the rubber meets the road.  You have done the internal work of accepting His forgiveness and embracing it to bring it with you wherever you go.  Stage three is living it.  Living it means sharing it with others—not only in word, but also in deed.  We talk at length that we should not judge others—yet so rarely do we talk about how we need to forgive others.

Read the following verses and write out what you learn about forgiveness.

  • Psalm 32:1-2
  • Matthew 18:21-35

A changed perspective

Once reconciled to God, the physical world around us does not change.  We can spend years in the faith and still struggle with what goes on around us—whether they be circumstances or societal happenings.

Take Asaph.  A leader in Israel, known by the king.  Asaph stood before the people of God as a messenger.

Read Psalm 73:1-3.  How did Asaph describe his own situation?

What was the root of his stumbling?

Read Psalm 73:4-16.  What things did Asaph struggle with specifically?

In what ways do you struggle seeing the same things happening around you?

How have you responded?

Read Psalm 73:1-3 again.  Asaph attributed his struggle with his own envy of the boastful.  Being reconciled to Christ does not mean we are immune to struggle.  In many ways, we are actually more sensitive to it.  Knowing right from wrong and feeling the spiritual difference, we sometimes, like Asaph, feel greater pain.

So what is one to do?  In Psalm 73:17, where did Asaph find resolution?

Read Psalm 73:18-20, 27.  How does God look upon the evil actions of others?

Continue reading Psalm 73:21-26.  What was God’s response to Asaph’s “foolishness”?

Did you notice the difference between how God views the foolishness of His followers (Asaph) as opposed to the foolishness of those who are not His people?  His grace is amazing, His forgiveness complete.  Being one of His means forgiveness, and a great perspective.  Despite our foolishness, God continues to hold us, continues to be our strength.

Write out Psalm 73:28.

Make it your meditation for today.

Leaving the old ways behind

You have been reconciled.  You have been forgiven.  And God offers you a changed perspective.   He offers you a changed life.

Read Romans 6:5-11.  What stands out to you?

What about your old life has died?

What parts of that old life do you tend to drag with you?

Re-read Romans 6:5-11.  According to this passage what role does that old life have in your new life?

Read Colossians 3:8-11.  What are you to do with the old self?

What aspects of life are you to set aside?

As we have learned before, we cannot rid our lives of one thing without filling that hole in with something else.

Continue reading Colossians 3:12-17.  What are we to put on in our new life?

What else stands out to you from this passage?

Read 2 Corinthians 9:16-19.  What stands out to you?

God sees you are renewed.  You have embraced and committed to live renewed, and the church is to see you renewed as well.  The flip side of this is that you are to see others in the body of believers as renewed.

What stands in the way of you letting go of the old man in others as they live a life forgiven?

Imagine a church where we see each other as renewed.  Imagine a faith where others can see by our actions that their old life can be set aside.  Imagine a body of believers who love one another, see the best in one another, and come together to show the world the transformation possible through Christ.

What commitments do you need to make to be part of making that possible?

One comment on “plain & simple: Week 6, Thank God for Christ: Transformation…

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