When we become Christians, we don't just do some things differently, we have a complete change of mind. That is the meaning of the word 'repent.' The first word of Peter to the people (Acts 2:38), of John the Baptist (Matt.3:1-2), and of Jesus to the people (Matt.4:17) was 'repent.' Only as people see the sheer goodness and glory of Christ, do they see themselves in a true light and become aware of the real nature of their sin and need. They need to change their mind about a lot of things.
Rom.12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Prov.23:7 AV As he thinketh in his heart so is he
Only God can read our hearts. The way we tell that a person has truly repented is because of a change of behaviour as evidence of a change of heart. The first thing is confession of sins. The second is fruit.
Matt.3:6 Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River
Luke 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance
Our inward change should show outwardly in our lives and our behaviour.
Luke 3:10-11 "What should we do then?" the crowd asked. John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."
Matt.25:35-36, 40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." … "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Luke 3:12-13 Tax collectors also came to be baptised. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?" "Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.
Luke 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."
Eph.6:7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.
Luke 3:14 Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely – be content with your pay."
1 Tim.6:10-11 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Mark 10:23 … "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
These are just a few examples of the changes that should be seen in a genuinely transformed life. That is why James said, "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" (James 2:14) This has been greatly misunderstood. James is not saying that deeds save you, but if you are truly saved, if you have a changed heart, then it will show in the things you do. The faith that is claimed but has no fruit is no real faith.
There was an old question that said, "If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Has your behaviour proved your change of mind?
[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]
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