How People Change

HPCF

Man, have I got something incredible to tell you this morning! So far this series has called for a lot of inward reflection, identifying the heat, recognizing our negative reactions, owning up to our sin. But today? Today we get to look up, to soak in the truth that is our life juice.

After spending an hour re-reading through this lesson, I’m amazed at how much I missed the first time through! The Spirit gave me eyes to see where He has brought me from and what He has brought me to, and we spent a good time rejoicing over that together. So rather than trying to “teach” you something that I am still in the process of learning, I’m going to simply celebrate God’s work in my life with you.

The Spirit helped me realize that preaching Christ’s life and death to myself is a daily necessity, rather than a one-time sermon that brought me to salvation. Growing up, I memorized the “Roman’s road”* to tell others how to “get saved” but never read those verses as moment-by-moment truth for myself. Rather, I felt as if I had outgrown them as a Christian, having already confessed Christ and received His gift of salvation. How hopeless is that?! The day the Spirit showed me how foolish a thing it is to live like grace was for salvation but grit was for sanctification** was the day I realized what joy and peace really were. “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” {Gal. 3}. Rehearsing the truth of salvation gives us grace to walk forward in sanctification.

I am free from self-condemnation because God doesn’t condemn Christ. Rehearsing the truth of the cross means reminding myself that Christ lived a sinless life, died a complete death, and rose from the grave in my place. Because of that, because I stand in Christ, God’s justice keeps Him from punishing me. Christ has been punished in my place, therefore it would be unjust for God to punish the offense twice. “Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me” {Before the Throne of God Above}.

Because God’s acceptance of Christ means acceptance for me, I am adopted as a daughter of God. “This amazing love of the Father compels us to live for him. This love, when rightly understood, will inevitably propel you in the direction of holiness and growth in grace. This order is essential: I am a new creation, fully accepted, adopted, and free; therefore I want to please God. We do NOT say: I will try to please God so that I may become a new creation, make myself acceptable, and hope that God adopts me and sets me free” {How People Change Study Guide p. 125}.

I have been crucified with Christ, and He lives in me. Galatians 2:20 reads “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Susanna no longer lives. I died a spiritual death when Christ died on the cross. Because I’ve died to my old “husband” I am free to marry Christ {I Cor. 7}. His power, righteousness, goodness, love, justice, mercy now dwells in me. I no longer have to measure my potential to accomplish this or that by past failure or present strength. The measure of my potential to do what I’ve been called to is Christ! He defines me, He fills me, He enables me, He loves me.

Armed with this truth, I have the power, hope, and means to fight sin. This ugliness that has surfaced in me through this study doesn’t have to leave me in despair. Because I have been crucified with Christ, I am not condemned but adopted and accepted. I am a new creation, filled with the fullness of Christ. But I easily forget or fail to believe these things. So a daily rehearsal of these truths is necessary.

So what’s your story? Where is God showing you that you need to remember the truth of the cross in your everyday?

{If you’re new here, this is the 4th part in this series of 5 posts following the How People Change study I’ve been working through. You can catch up on the previous 3 here.}

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Define it:

*Romans Road: a collection of verses in the book of Romans meant to lead someone to a knowledge of their sin and Christ’s salvation

**Sanctification: the ongoing, daily, never-ending process of becoming like Christ.

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