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Establishing Believers in the Christian Faith

from the book Why I Love God

12. New Life Broke Sins Power

Now all these changes in my desires, thoughts, attitudes and feelings aligned with the teachings of scripture about conversion. The moment I believed I became a new man; I was born again. And I was not a new man because I convinced myself I was. Nor was I a new man because I had adopted a new creed, resolved to abide by a new set of moral standards, made a vow of consecration to God at my conversion, promised to live my life in full submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, or determined to abide by some spiritual checklist. Not at all. There was simply new life working itself out in me. And that new life was the gracious act of God in response to my trusting Him for forgiveness. I had God’s standards, His law, written on my heart; they were and engraved there. I loved, sacrificed, forgave, prayed, read scripture, and attended church not because I was a Christian and I was supposed to, but because I wanted to and I had a hunger for spiritual things. I had a new, godly nature. I possessed holy affections, a righteous disposition, and a heart that preponderated towards doing God’s will as revealed in His word. And if in exasperation I were to somehow attempt to cast off all restraint and live in sin, it could not be maintained. The new life within me would not allow me to do the things that I please.

This new life in me shone brightest in my darkest hours of trial. I persevered in my love towards God and trusted Him despite the physical infirmities, emotional traumas, and deep offenses that came against me. Rather than trials and difficulties destroying my faith — like a sun that hits a seed on a rock — I came out stronger. I was like a tree which, after having been pruned, brought forth greater fruit. But as with all the changes, the perseverance was ultimately not coming from me, but from the new life indwelling me.

So God not only forgave me all of my sins. He regenerated me and placed in me His life so a lifestyle of sin would not be normative. The very moment I believed He delivered me not only from the penalty of my sins, but also from the power sin had over me. And deliverance from sin’s power did not mean the absence of the experience of temptation, nor did it mean perfect obedience in resisting temptation. Rather, deliverance from sin’s power meant the presence of righteous affections that warred against temptation, a contrite heart towards God when yielding to temptation, and a life that overall was predominantly characterized by godliness on account of these dynamics. Praise be to God!

from the book Why I Love God

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