LCG: Real Christians Change


Here is today’s commentary from the Living Church of God:

Charles Knowlton | Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Paul Harvey once told a story about a tough lumberjack who went to town one weekend, fell in with a religious group, and was baptized. He went back to the lumber camp–much to the concern of his preacher, who worried that others would make fun of him. When he went back to town the preacher asked him how it went. He said, “They never caught on.”

Contrary to this lumberjack’s story, being baptized and growing as a Christian must involve change and overcoming. The problem is that religion means different things to different people. To most, it is little more than their name on the church roll, a superficial religious association necessary to maintain social ties and some peace of mind. Even if they do not attend regularly—some just once or twice a year—“membership” gives a feeling of belonging and a sense of security. Yet it is a false sense of security.

At another extreme are the “religious hobbyists” who move from church to church, constantly studying and learning “new things” and always on the hunt for the church that has beliefs closest to their own. Always “studying” according to their interests, they often take offense at the idea of being “taught” by a church that might understand more truth than they do. In fact, they are not shy about preaching to the preachers, and feel they are heaven-bound for their efforts.

Some families set down a strict rule that religion and politics must never be discussed at family gatherings, in order to prevent pleasant family reunions from turning into heated arguments, with animated participants fervently trying to convert their family members over to their way of thinking.

But where is the truth in all of this? Consider John 17:17: “Your word is truth.” Not surprisingly, many like to use the Bible to try to prove their points. It is common to see people “pick and choose” those parts of the Bible that seem to support their ideas, while ignoring other parts that, if honestly examined, would prove them wrong. Even beyond “pick and choose,” however, we see that some are willing to change the Bible to suit their preconceptions. Just take a look at modern English-language Bibles. From “dumbing down” to denying gender to shading potentially “offensive” passages, translations in many cases seem to be growing worse and worse.

Change, however, has its place. But instead of changing the Bible to meet our expectations, we need to be willing to change ourselves to conform to God’s word! God has a plan that involves every human being, and that provides both a way to change and evidence of the benefits that come from changing!

The Apostle Paul came face to face with the need for change. He recognized his need to struggle against his human nature. Paul explains in Scripture that he often did what he did not want to do, and failed to do what he knew he should (Romans 7:15-24). He asked, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (v. 24).

Thankfully, in verse 25, Paul answered that question: “I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” For those who want to argue, the Bible is an inexhaustible source of arguments. But for those who want to change, it is a road-map to freedom and peace.

To learn more, read our articles, “Are You Willing to Change?” and “Can You Really Change Your Life?”

Jesus taught:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Thus, the lumberjack that Paul Harvey spoke of apparently did not understand that his way of life should have become different enough that others would notice.  His light did not shine.

In the Bible it is clear that the Apostle Peter taught,

38 Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)

To repent means to change direction.  Real Christians change.  And as Peter and Paul wrote, they are to:

18…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

While massive repentance and truly turning to Christ is the only real long-term hope for the world, this probably will not happen until after the Great Tribulation (though some will repent now, and a multitude will repent during the Great Tribulation), you personally can repent and change.  Jesus does offer protection from the hour of trial that is coming on the earth (Revelation 3:10).

The sorrows and troubles are just beginning and will get much worse. Hopefully, you will be among those that will wake up and change before it is too late.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally?
Are You Saved? Do You Love Jesus? What is a True Christian? What is the Gospel? Evangelist Richard Ames answers those important questions.
The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
What Did Jesus Teach About the Ten Commandments? This article quotes what Jesus actually said about them (His words are in red).
Were the Ten Commandments Nailed to the Cross? Some have said so. This article provides some biblical quotes to answer this important question.
What Did Paul Actually Teach About the Ten Commandments? Many say Paul taught against the ten commandments. Is this true? This article quotes Paul with his words in green.
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Hope of Salvation: How the Living Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Living Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Living Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Living Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja viva do deus? Tambien Español: Cuál es fiel: ¿La iglesia católica romana o La Iglesia del Dios Viviente? Auch: Deutsch: Welches zuverlässig ist: Die Römisch-katholische Kirche oder die lebende Kirche von Gott?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2011 or 2012? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What is the “beginning of sorrows”? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory.

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