“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”—Romans 12:2 (NIV).
Do you believe people can change? Before you answer that question, let’s consider some examples of characters in scripture who were used by God, even though they were not perfect.
In the Old Testament, we learn that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). Was Noah perfect? No. But God chose to save Noah and his family from the flood of destruction. Everyone and everything else were destroyed.
Another Old Testament example is the story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah. To save his own hide, Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister. Later, after laughing at God when He said she would give birth to a son in her old age, Sarah became impatient and took matters into her own hands. She encouraged her husband to sleep with another woman to fulfill the promise. Even though the couple’s lives were distinguished with disbelief and disobedience, God remained faithful to His promise.
A Powerful Spiritual Transformation
One of the most well-known transformation stories appears in the New Testament. Paul, formerly known as Saul, was a persecutor of Christians. In Acts 9, Saul approached the high priest, asking him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, “so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.”
As Saul nears Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashes around him. Falling to the ground, he hears a voice asking, “Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?”
When Saul replies, asking who the Lord is, Jesus replies, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Transformed by God’s Grace
Paul never doubted the revelation of Jesus Christ. He knew the Christ He met on the road to Damascus was not Christ in the flesh—it was the Risen Christ. The Risen Christ was the Jesus who had been crucified and buried, only to rise three days later. The Savior of our world.
In Galatians 1:13, Paul describes his life before being transformed by God’s amazing grace. “For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it.”
Obsessed with his transformed life, Paul became a critic of religion that is self-serving and doesn’t lead to mature and truly life changing. In Galatians 2:20, he writes, “I live no longer, not I; but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
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SOURCE: Assist News