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Thursday, 5 December 2013

If I were to become a Christian!

One of the aids that I use in my personal devotions is a Prayer Guide produced by the Revival Prayer Ministry.  Yesterday and the day before were covered by one item - about the Christian church in South Sudan.  I was struck by a quote from Bishop Elias Taban of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.  He said: "In my area of Africa, many people think they are Christians because they have a Christian name.   Sadly, many have not heard or understood the message of salvation."
Equally sadly, the same thing could be said of many living in Scotland, the rest of the United Kingdom and, indeed, any part of the world today.
Over the years during which I have been publishing this blog, I have dealt with the question "What is a Christian" on more than one occasion (use the 'search' box at the top left-hand corner of the blog to remind yourself of what I wrote!).  This time, I want to ask what becoming a true Christian - a follower, and disciple, of Jesus the Christ - will bring to you if you are willing to surrender to Him; commit yourself to Him; and seek to show your love for Him by obedience to Him.
It will, first of all, be the greatest discovery you will ever make! Sir James Young Simpson, the discoverer of chloroform – a tremendous benefit to those who had to undergo all kinds of operations and amputations – was asked during his own last illness, ‘What do you consider to be your greatest discovery?’  Back came the answer, without moment’s hesitation – and there was no mention of chloroform!  “On the morning of Christmas Day, 1861," he said, "I discovered that I was a sinner, and that Jesus Christ was my Saviour.”
You see, it's only when I realise that I am a sinner, and am unable to do anything about it - regardless of the number of New Year's Resolutions I may make - that I will seriously even look for a Saviour.  The wonderful discovery that James Simpson, and every other true disciple of Jesus, made is that Jesus can be, and is, that Saviour.  Through Him, and Him alone, my sins not only can be, but are, forgiven!  John assures us that "... if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7).  Did you notice that?  It's all sin!  That includes even the sins that I have not yet committed!  Now, to begin to grasp something of the dynamics of that, one needs to have some insight to the relationship between time and eternity.  Much too big a subject for a blog post but, if you are really interested, I devote a full chapter to the topic in my book, Great Words of the Faith - details above!
My sins are forgiven, through Jesus; and my life is changed, by Jesus.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (II Cor 5:17).  But yielding your life to the Christ, you will discover, is also the greatest decision that you can ever take. It is one that involves accepting His salvation.  It affects the whole person – body and spirit; what we become here and now, as well as where we shall spend eternity.  And, in accepting His salvation, I find that I am accepted for His service.
I love those two little verses in Mark’s account of the Gospel.  Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and they told [Jesus] about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.” (1:30-31; NKJV)  Saved – to serve.  When I accept Jesus as my Saviour, I acknowledge Him as Lord.  It’s no longer what I want to do that’s important, but what He wants me to do.  And, for some, most amazing thing is that there’s so much He does want us to do!
Finally, there is in store for you, if you decide to follow Jesus, the greatest difference anyone can ever know.   If everyday decisions can make the differences they do to your life and to mine, how much more can one as momentous as accepting God the son as your Saviour, and Lord - and Friend!  He gives you a new start in life. 
If you have discovered that when Paul says that “…all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal;” (Rom.3:23; LB), his “all” includes you; but you have also discovered that “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (I Tim 1:15; TLB), and have now decided to surrender to His loving control; then the change in you is so radical that it can only be compared to being born all over again – a new birth; a completely new start.  
However, that's not all.  He gives you, not just a new start to life, but also a new life with which to start!  Instead of stumbling along in darkness, you walk in light with Him.  From being in bondage to sin, you are set free from its penalty, its power and, ultimately, its presence.  Instead of being tormented by a guilty conscience, you have peace with God through the Son, and the very love of God fills your heart and life.  In receiving Him, you change from being a creature of God to being a child of God, adopted into His family.
The greatest discovery that anyone can make; the greatest decision anyone can ever take; the greatest difference anyone can know.  Why not make that difference yours, right now, just where you are, by quietly handing yourself over to the Saviour.  He is waiting for you to trust Him, and He will never disappoint you.  Will you let Him be your Saviour, and Lord, and Friend?  Will you?  You’ll never regret it if you do.


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