Paul’s Footsteps #9

Footsteps #9

The crisis of conversion tears the old life apart. Conversion is beholding the Messiah as Paul did; a crucified, cursed of God, perfect substitute! The change to Christianity is a new life that renounces the call of the world. We take up our cross (Matt.16:24-26) and walk in the footsteps of Jesus(1Pet.2:21).

“24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?a] Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matt.16:24-26)

“21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffereda] for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” (1Pet.2:21)

Our thoughts become less trivial, our words and actions ever increasingly like those of Jesus. Our preoccupation with fine houses, personal display, land and goods, and other worldly preoccupations that engross the mind, become less and less alluring. Increasingly, our obsession becomes the things of eternal interest – reading, fellowshipping, worshipping, singing, church attendance, and acts of charity. 
Unconverted people are without the indwelling Holy Spirit. They become solitary, spiritually poor, and self-absorbed, with a brutish short life. They are just another creature, with tendencies towards the grave, and yet retaining some nostalgic longing for eternity.

There are two supreme doctrines of the Bible and they go like this: 1) God is much better than we ever dared to suppose and 2) Man is much worse than we ever imagined. People don’t like being told that they are bad. The dilemma is to get back that indwelling Spirit of God, and that happens at conversion. The Holy Spirit is promised unconditionally to every believer in Christ (Acts.2:38). The evidence is a changed life.

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts.2:38)

Left to myself, I mess up life, and not just my life, but the life of others as well. My wisdom is folly, my ambitions selfish, my desires deceptive. “Who shall deliver me from this body of death,” cried Paul in Rom.7:25. His own response, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ the Lord.” 
It is interesting to note that while the Bible urges upon us the duty of observing the Lord’s supper, it does so fewer times than we have fingers on one hand. And while it says that we should be baptised, it says so less times than we have fingers on both hands. But concerning the duty of repentance, of change of mind and attitude, this it urges over 70 times in the NT alone. 

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