What a good question for a new believer in Jesus Christ! What is change?
|A transformation. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function.|
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition, Houghton Mifflin , 2000.
Caterpillars change to butterflies and the fish-like tadpoles change to bullfrogs. When Jesus comes into our hearts, our lives don’t necessarily change physically, but we change spiritually and relationally. Just as seed begins its life in secret within its shell, there is new life germinating within our hearts.
Let’s look at key anthropological changes.
Creation of Man
The term “man” in this instance is a general term that includes both men and women. The Bible says that after God made the earth and a suitable environment, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26). The divine image does not mean that we physically looked like God, but that we are relationally favored over all creation and that he imparted on us authority as stewards of creation. The Psalmist sings to God about man:
You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet. – Psalm 8:5-6
Man’s first change, then, is receiving life, purpose, and a close relationship with God. Because every person was made in the image of God, man has an inherent significance and deserves respect.
The Fall of Man
God gave his word to Adam and Eve, the first people. He spoke blessing on them, but also told them what was right and wrong. When they were eventually tempted, they reasoned when they “..saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom…” (Genesis 3:6) God’s word became relative to them. They stopped believing that God means what he says and they doubted God’s love. As a result, the consequences affected every human being: sin and death came into the world. God’s image, though retained, became disfigured and the Holy Spirit no longer lived in man.
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23
Our creation made us God’s most beloved creature. Having the image of God enables us the potential for virtuous and noble acts. However, our sin made us rebels and objects of wrath. Our sinful nature enables the potential for great evil.
There are only two paths for those who live according to their sinful nature. The first path is that of complete separation from God without hope of reprieve. The second path — the one I hope you are on by accepting God’s one and only way of salvation, Jesus — is that of the redeemed. Jesus said:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:13-14
The Apostle Paul summarized the gospel (good news) like this:
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
-1 Corinthians 15:2-4
Oh! How You Have Changed!
– You are a Child of God – John 1:12
– If you are in Christ, you are a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Cor 5:17
– Born Again – John 3:7
– Forgiveness of Sins – Col 1:14, Acts 13:38-39
– Cleansed – Ephesians 5:26, 1 John 1:7
– Eternal (Everlasting) Life – John 3:16
– You have become a member of Christ’s Body – Ephesians 5:3
How You Now Ought to Live
The Lord has changed you in so many ways. He has given you a second chance. You now have the ability to resist sin and make Godly decisions. He has adopted you as his child. As such, you are now his representative and ambassador on earth. Therefore, do not misrepresent your Heavenly Father, but reflect his image by imitating him. Get to know him through prayer, Bible study, and corporate worship and fellowship.
God has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
– 2 Peter 1:4
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12
Learn more about becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ on our web page about Discipleship.