Johnny was visiting the local church one day when the preacher began saying, "I know someone here needs to be saved!" Everyone began to look around. Johnny was getting uncomfortable and unconsciously moving about in his seat. As the preacher continued to preach, again he said, "I know that someone here needs to be saved!" Finally someone pointed to Johnny. A well meaning friend then said to Johnny, "That must be you!" Johnny was helped down the aisle to the minister. Brief words were spoken, then Johnny was asked to repeat a prayer. Johnny said the sinner's prayer, but his life never changed.
Have you ever met anyone like that? They said everything the preacher said, but their lives were not changed. On the other hand, Sally said the sinner's prayer and Sally's life was transformed. There was a turning around, a change of mind, a change of heart in Sally.
What was the difference? Johnny went through a form and said the right things, but Sally dealt with a person (Jesus Christ). She turned from sin to Him in repentant, childlike faith.
How do you know that you are saved? What were you saved from? Salvation is when Christ saves you from the penalty and power of sin, through His redeeming blood. "And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 Jn. 3:3; NASV). When a person comes in repentant faith to Jesus Christ and His shed blood for the forgiveness of one's sins, God places a new nature within. That doesn't mean one is perfect but it does mean new desires for God and His ways.
If I took a pig and put him in a bathtub, cleaned him up, painted his hoofs, put a bow on his head and sprinkled a little perfume on him, he sure would look pretty. But what would happen if I let him out of my house? He would go to the mud hole and wallow in the mud. Why? Because he has the nature of a pig.
If I had a lamb and it fell in a mud hole, it would struggle to get out. Why? Because it is not the nature of a lamb to wallow in mud.
Because of the new nature that has been placed within the believer he may fall into sin, but he will not want to continue there. Why? Because he now has the nature of the Lamb of God.
What kind of faith in Christ do you have? Johnny's faith, which only amounted to intellectual assent (also referred to as demons faith or dead faith - Jas. 2:19-20), or Sally's faith which was from the heart (Rom. 10:10)?
Have you had a change of heart? Have you truly repented? Repentance is a gift that God grants people who want to come to Him to be saved. It is a new attitude, a change of mind, a change of heart THAT RESULTS in one turning from sin to God, and ultimately, to His ways.
In Matthew 3:8, John the Baptist said, "Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart]" (Amplified Bible). The apostle Paul said in his preaching to the Gentiles "that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance" (Acts 26:20; NASV). From these scriptures we can see that "repentance" is "a change of heart, a change of mind" and that good works are the FRUIT (or evidence) of that changed heart.
Have you had a change of heart toward God? Have you turned from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God's dear Son? Have you trusted Jesus Christ and His shed blood for the forgiveness of your sins?
Jesus Christ's commission to the apostle Paul was to open people's eyes, so that they may TURN FROM darkness TO light, FROM the power of Satan UNTO God, so that they may receive the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 26:18). Has this happened to you?
Tract No. 30 by Don Krow