This is a guest blog post by Melissa Harrison.
I grew up in a home where I heard the name of Jesus, had a Bible, went to church and a Christian school, but that did not make me a Christian.
It made me a moralist, but not a follower of Christ.
I left home thinking that I was saved. I mean, I read the Bible at church on Sunday and even during the week sometime, but that did not make me a Christian. I lived my life as I saw fit, had no desire for godly things (how could I?), and thought that if I showed up on Sunday to pay my tithes that the Lord of all creation was obligated to bless me (aka, life, health, and cash) and let me into His kingdom when I died.
But one day, the Lord had mercy on me and removed my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). I understood that before that moment, I was an enemy of God (Romans 8:7-8); a sinner dead and hopelessly separated from Him (Ephesians 2:1). But there was hope and His name is Jesus (Matthew 1:21).
Jesus lived the sinless life that I could not live, bore the wrath of a holy God that I rightfully deserved, and died in my place—what a Savior (Romans 5:7-8)! The perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ was imputed to me; and now I am made right with God the Father (2 Corinthians 5:21).
As that truth washed over me, my desires changed (2 Corinthians 5:17). I now wanted to read God’s word and I wanted to be with His people (Acts 2:46). Yet, there was something else, too: a weightiness as I heard the Word taught (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12). It meant that my whole life had to—and was going to—change. If I believed in Christ, then I must submit my life to Him—all of it—otherwise, I am still that hell-bound moralist. If I truly believed, then I must say “Yes” and “Amen” to all that God deems right and good and reject what He hates (Proverbs 6:16-18; 1 Peter 4:1-6).
But how could I?
God is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3) and He does not leave us alone to figure it out on our own. In Christ, God has given us everything we need for life and godliness (for context, see 2 Peter 1:2-12).
The Lord sent godly, mature sisters in Christ to come and walk alongside me. I am grateful for them. They spoke the truth to me in love (Ephesians 4:15) by calling out my sin, and showing me what genuine confession and repentance look like (Joshua 7:20-21 is a great illustration of confession). Do I always like when my sin is called out? No, but it is always necessary? Absolutely. Why? One word: sanctification (see 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13; 4:1-8; James 1:21-25; and Colossians 1:10-12, for a start).
You see, to come to the Lord as you are does NOT mean that you are to stay as you are. God has promised to conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Out of love and gratitude for saving us from His wrath and eternal separation from Him, should spring the desire to please Him in all things (Romans 12:1-2). That will include putting off our old life and putting on new things (Ephesians 4:22-24).
God the Holy Spirit will convict us when we sin, and if we never feel convicted, we should examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5). Our lives should look different once we are saved. Please understand this, if it looks like my life is “all together,” know that it is Jesus (see Ephesians 2:13-22).
If you find that your life does not look any different, there is hope! Today is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2). Hear the words of Jesus Himself as recorded in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
All for His glory alone,