Introduction to Christianity 4
4. CAN GOD MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO ME?
When anyone becomes a Christian they will have
- recognised that Jesus is God.
- seen that they are in rebellion to God.
- turned back from the rebellion.
- submitted their life to Jesus as their Lord.
- asked for and received forgiveness because of the death of Jesus.
BUT does this make them any different?
NO - they are still like other human beings: they work, play sport, get hurt, live in a house, etc.
YES - there is also a complete change that happens. It begins on the inside and gradually affects all their life.
1. Different With Respect to the Past
When I think of my past
a) I've done wrong but I don't think it matters.
b) I don't think I've done anything wrong.
c) I am afraid of being judged for my wrongs.
d) I know I was guilty but my guilt has been cancelled.
Read Colossians 2.13, 14.
What is Paul's attitude to the past?
"And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13,14, NRSV.
2. A Different Future
What is the Christian's attitude to death, and life after death?
1 Corinthians 15.20-22,
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, NRSV.
1 Corinthians 15.51-57
"Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, NRSV.
"For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself." Philippians 3:18-21, NRSV.
What will we be like eventually? 1 John 3.1-2
"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is." 1 John 3:1,2, NRSV.
3. Different Now!
Can you list some differences from these passages:
2 Corinthians 5.17
"So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!" 2 Corinthians 5:17, NRSV.
2 Corinthians 5.18
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;" 2 Corinthians 5:18, NRSV.
"And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God." Galatians 4:6,7, NRSV.
"By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:22-26, NRSV.
"Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6,7, NRSV.
4. BUT ....
4.1 Do you think these differences are :-
- Very important.
4.2 What do people have to do for God to make this kind of difference to them?
If you would like to follow up anything in this unit, please contact us and we will try to help you.
The last Unit in this Course is 5. Is There Any Hope for the Future?