A New Plan of Salvation
Alright I know I’m not posting this at the right time, but I am writing this in a hotel room while Meredith has a girls slumber party at our place. I am supposed to be on a “spiritual retreat” getting ready for Winter Retreat, but instead I stopped to write this for a while.
I have been struggling for a while now with the idea of how to explain what I believe about conversion in a non-church word way. You see my ideas about the journey people take towards God has changed since I was a kid. I see now that a relationship with God is more like a journey than a “life changing experience.” I believe the journey is the life changing experience. Now I also believe that there is a time when you make the switch from trying out God to being a child of God, and that is called salvation by most people, but I know in the Baptist church that has been placed too high in importance. We have elevated “moment of conversion” so much that we have forgotten that people need to come at God in their own way and in their own time.
So with all of these ideas running around in my head I wanted to come up with a short way to describe “becoming a Christian” for my lesson on Wednesday night. Here is what I came up with:
I believe that we are on a journey in this life. On this journey we are all learning new things about God and experiencing him in a variety of ways. I also believe that on this journey there is a place where this God stuff stops simply being something you are interested in and it becomes something that defines who you are.
There is a place where you must make a choice. You must decide who is better to be in control of your life—You or God. When you make that choice you decide to turn your heart to God and “make him Lord” which means that you decide to turn control of your life over to him.
The process that makes this happen is when you confess that you have messed up in life and acknowledge that no matter how hard you try you will never be good enough to earn God’s love or attention. Then you accept the gift of Christ’s death for your life.
You see Jesus died to pay for your sins. When you accept this gift and the forgiveness of your sins the Bible claims that a radical transformation takes place. Your old heart is removed and God gives you a new heart. This new heart is the heart that people were supposed to have from the beginning. This new heart is good, and that is why Paul continually refers to Christians as Saints.
No matter what you do no matter where you run to you can never run away from the love of God and you can never remove that new heart and put your old one back in. God has transformed you.
The Bible also says that God himself in the presence of the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you. It is this Holy Spirit that begins to take that heart transformation and bring it out into your everyday life. This is God’s extreme makeover. As you let the Holy Spirit have control of more and more of your life your new heart shines through for everyone to see. As you grow He brings to the surface the truths of this new heart and grows in you like fruit on a tree love, joy…
But this extreme makeover starts with you making a choice for God, not running around with Christians, not hanging out with me, not even reading your Bible or doing good things. It begins with you decision to accept God’s gift.