Renewing Your Mind Day 3 – Changing My Mind About Holiness

holy photo(1 Corinthians 6:11)  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

A renewed mind means my thought patterns about my identity changes. I am no longer a sinner. Now I am a saint of the Most High God. I am no longer living on my own terms. The direction and purpose of my life has been aligned with the direction and purpose of Christ in me. I am no longer living according to my own standard of morality and behavior. Now, as someone who is sanctified, I live a life that has been set apart for a holy purpose.

To sanctify means to “make holy, purify or consecrate.” This is not a description of my behavior. This is a description of my position in Christ. Just as I stand before Him justified, I also stand before Him sanctified. Because I’ve been declared righteous, I am now qualified to be set apart to a life of holy purpose.

The difficulty comes in when I fail to live according to this purpose. When I try to live a life of holiness according to a set of rules or standards, I put myself under the Law. This only leads to failure after failure. I reason with myself and justify sin because I start to believe that is my identity.  Instead of a renewed mind, my thinking reverts back to my previous thinking before Christ. I see myself as a sinner and unworthy of living for God.

But then grace floods my thought-life and everything changes. I realize that I could never live a life pleasing to God according to a set of rules – both before I came to Christ and even after I became a Christian. Grace always brings clarity and truth to a situation. Even when I fail I must come back again and again to grace for the power to repent. It leads me to rejoice once again in my true identity –  I am washed! I am sanctified! I am justified! This is what gives courage and encouragement to continue in the Word of God and in dependency on the Spirit of God to walk in a new and holy way..

Renewed Thought – I am set apart by God for a holy and righteous purpose. When I walk by faith in this, I will begin to live out my true purpose for Him and I will begin to be holy in my daily life.

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Renewing Your Mind Day 2 – Changing My Mind About Justification

(Romans 4:25)  Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

I used to think that to be “justified” meant that as a child of God, He now treated me “just-as-if-I’d- never-sinned.” Easy to remember, right? It was a neat trick that helped me recall what the word meant. Unfortunately, this type of thinking stunted my spiritual growth. I failed to appreciate the full meaning of justification. I didn’t understand the true legal and judicial impact of what God had accomplished for me on the cross and especially in the resurrection.

Before trusting in Christ for salvation, I was condemned under the debt and penalty of sin. My sins were proof that I was a sinner just like every other person that walks this earth. Romans 3:23 pointed out to me that I was part of the “all” in “For all have sinned…” One day, I was asked if I knew whether I was going to go to heaven when I died. My reply was, “I don’t know. How could anyone know? It all depends on whether your good outweighs your bad.” Fortunately, someone showed me in the Bible that no matter how good I behaved, I was still unrighteous before God. My spiritual state was “sinner.” Sinners, even if they are religious, still spend eternity separated from God. On that day, I learned how Christ paid the price for my sins and that good works were something God expected after I became a Christian – not required to become a Christian!

Spiritual growth means we learn along the way how to please God through a new understanding of who we are. I really didn’t understand much about the details of salvation for the first few years of my life as a Christian. But after reading, studying, asking questions and hearing sermons for, I learned that justification is actually a legal term that means “to be declared righteous.” What an impact this had on my view of what God accomplished for me! It totally blew open my view of the cross and the resurrection of Christ.. Before all this, I knew the resurrection of Jesus made Him special and Christianity unique. I did not realize that His resurrection also made me special and unique. I have been declared righteous because God gave me the righteousness of Christ. His righteousness became my righteousness. Sin can never condemn me again!

God wants me to be so full of understanding of what He did for me on the cross and in the resurrection that I am consumed with thankfulness. This is the design of God’s grace to motivate me to do His will.

Renewed Thought – Anything good that I do is because Christ lives in me and I do it because of His righteousness, not my own.  

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Renewing Your Mind Day 1 – Changing My Mind About The Gospel

resurrection photo(Galatians 1:6) “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”

Even though I was born in America, attended religious classes, took part in religious ceremonies, joined a church by fulfilling the requirements for membership, memorized parts of the Bible, prayed and was baptized, I was not a Christian by God’s definition. One Sunday while I was in eighth grade, I attended a youth group and heard something called “the gospel.” I believed it. My life and eternity were changed forever. I have never been the same.

The day I became a Christian, I changed my mind about three things: Myself, God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Myself – First, I had to realize that I was a sinner regardless of whether I was born in America, raised in religion or lived a life trying to do good.

God – Second, I had to realize that God loved me and did not want to judge me. But unfortunately, because I was a sinner, He was going to judge me and my sin would keep me separated from Him forever.

Jesus Christ – Third, I had to realize who Jesus really was. He wasn’t a religious figure sent here to teach us how to do good. As God, He was sent here because God loved me. I had to realize He died on the cross for me, in my place, to pay for my sins. I also had to realize He rose again from the dead in order to give me eternal life.

The gospel is a name given to many different messages in our world today. But the Bible only defines one true saving message for us today:

(1 Corinthians 15:3-4) “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

It was hard for me to accept that salvation came by faith and not by doing something. I learned that I could never do enough good to earn God’s acceptance. I could only be accepted on the basis of what Christ did for me in His death, burial and resurrection.

Unfortunately, listening closely to a lot of preaching and teaching leads me to believe that Christianity has not guarded the purity of the message. So many proclaim a message that makes the terms of salvation sound like it requires works rather than faith. I fear there are people sitting regularly in the pews who may not even know Christ because they are trusting in a message that may be called the gospel but is not the true gospel.

I examined the websites of the 5 largest churches in America and looked at what they call their “Beliefs” or “Statement of Faith.” I had to dig a little deeper in some of the website to find their description of salvation. Most agree that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again. But most also add a few steps to the process of obtaining salvation. For some, you have to make a “commitment.” Others say you have to “change your heart towards God” as part of the transaction. The very truth that salvation comes by grace through faith is being cloaked in language that could actually cause people to think there are some works involved!  The reality is, we can never make a meaningful commitment to God or experience a change in our hearts until we come by faith to the salvation of God.

If you’ve never received Christ as your Savior, I invite you to change your mind about yourself, God and Jesus Christ right now.  You can know for sure where you will go when you die and have the capacity to live a life pleasing to God with your remaining days. Will you trust Him alone for your salvation?

Christian, change your mind about the gospel. Listen for the clarity of the message being preached. This isn’t about being critical. It’s about the very basis of our existence as Christians. We must demand a clear gospel message from ourselves, our churches, our leaders and each other. The gospel is the starting point towards a renewed mind.

Renewed Thought – Change your mind today about the gospel.

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