One of the simplest words in the English language is the word change! But it really carries a kick if you understand what it means for you and your relationship with God!
Many people operate under the mistaken impression that God wants us and accepts us “just as you are.” In fact, several popular Christian songs have the phrase “just as you are” embedded in the lyrics. One of the more recent songs by Crystal Lewis has these lyrics:
Come just as you are
Hear the spirit call
Come just as you are
Come and see
Come and live forever.
The idea is that God wants us so badly that He will accept us without any adjustments to our conduct or our thoughts. Is this true? How does this square with the idea of change?
Jesus Christ is our Savior. He loves us. These are both true statements, but where in Scripture does it say we have no need to change, that Jesus accepts us just as we are? Interestingly, the phrase “just as you are” appears nowhere in Scripture. So why would this idea be so popular in religious circles today?
The idea primarily comes from John 3:16. In this verse we read “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Many believe that this verse requires only an acceptance of Jesus Christ without a need to change your life. But that seems very different from the message that Christ actually taught.
Jesus Christ brought a particular message to this earth. That message is found in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’”
You don’t have to do a lot of research to discover that the word repent means to change. It isn’t just an admission of error; it is the correction of error in our lives. We know that God doesn’t expect perfection for us to be a Christian, but He does expect us to change. He does not accept us just as we are.
How can all these religious groups be wrong on such a basic principle? The message of repentance as taught by Jesus Christ was unpopular in His day and that unpopularity led to His death. He warned His disciples that the message He taught would never be the popular one. And that is still true today.
To be a Christian carries with it the responsibility to change. We here at Life, Hope & Truth want to help you understand true Christianity and what change really means. Take a deeper look at our website and see if it can’t help you in your personal relationship with God. That relationship requires that you change your life.
Not many people will tell you that, but you will find it here on our website.
Speaking for Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Jim Franks.