The apostle Paul challenges believers, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). What a wonderful goal; to be changed and transformed to reflect the attitudes, priorities and behaviors of Jesus! But as any serious believer attempts this task, they quickly discover challenges on every front. Does God really require and expect us to change into new people? If so, how does it happen?
Justification is not a change in our condition nor is it an inner transformation of our sin-corrupted nature. It is an external objective change in our relationship with God and His law. It is basically the same as forgiveness or remission of sins (Romans 4:6-8). Though we are sinners, God treats us just as if we had never sinned, or as if we had already paid our entire penalty (Romans 8:1). This amazing doctrine changes everything! We will explore…
A. Breaking God’s Law: GUILTY
B. Distorted Character: PERFECTIONISM & FEAR OF FAILURE
C. The Great Exchange: CROSS
D. The Robe of Righteousness: FORGIVEN
God has made provision to not only remove our guilt (justification) but also to restore our sin-weakened natures to a state of spiritual life and health. Regeneration is an inward, subjective change in our nature, character, and behavior. The change is in the person’s heart. It is instantaneous, a one-time event that happens at the moment of justification. God gives the believer a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26, 27: Colossians 2:11, 12).
A. Sin Poisons the Heart: SPIRITUAL DEATH
B. Distorted Character: SHAME & INFERIORITY
C. Resurrected: BORN AGAIN – A NEW PERSON
D. The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit: POWER TO OBEY
Sinners hate and are hostile toward God’s authority (Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21) becoming God’s enemy (Romans 5:10). Individual autonomy has replaced God as ruler. God too has hostility toward sinners (Romans 11:28). As sinners, we were “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3 NASV). Even while we were in a state of mutual hostility, God took the initiative to eliminate the enmity and bring reconciliation between warring parties! The Greek word Apposso gives our word reconciliation. It means to alter or to take in exchange. Through the death of Jesus on the cross God’s wrath is satisfied and his own enmity is set aside! When sinners come to Christ there is reconciliation and “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).
A. Sinners are hostile toward God: ENEMIES
B. Distorted Character: FEAR OF REJECTION
C. Redemption: TOTALLY ACCEPTED & LOVED
D. The Peace of God: BLAMELESS & BEYOND REPROACH
In baptism, the believer is set apart by God for his unique purposes. This is the basic meaning of sanctification. Progressive sanctification is the process of becoming like Jesus in character to do his mission. This equipping ministry is the world of church leaders and teachers. Becoming mature in Christ also means we learn to “put off the old self” and to “put on the new self” created to be Christ-like, and to make disciples (See Ephesians 4:20-24).
A. Embrace Newness of Life: CHRIST’S CHARACTER & MISSION
B. Distorted Character: LEGALISM
C. God’s Word & Spirit: POWER TO OBEY
D. Transformation: A PROCESS OF CHANGE
Glorification is the final state of God’s inheritance in the new heaven and earth. Glorification also includes BEING God’s treasure, possession and His inheritance! It is essential believers know their future. It will transform our attitudes and actions today!
A. Embrace Your Future: OPTIMISM
B. Distorted Character: PESSIMISM
C. The New Heaven & Earth: ETERNITY
D. God’s Inheritance: YOU!