Thankful for a Change of Heart
by Christy Pearce on November 27th, 2016
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart.
My heart just wasn’t in it.
As I sat warming the wooden bench at church camp, the Gospel message was sprinkled around the room. I counted the cost that sticky night as a 10-year-old girl. I had other plans that would interfere with waving the white flag for Jesus sake.
“Not now,” I breathed in my young ignorance. I arrogantly believed I had plenty of time to follow Jesus whenever I was done with all the (sinful) things that I wanted to do first. I whole-heartedly obeyed the only master I ever knew—sin.
Sin in our hearts opposes obedience from the heart.
Paul takes an adamant stance about the buoyancy of obedience in the heart and life of a Christian. But before obedience can flow from our hearts, we must first be changed by the power of the Gospel, specifically, by sharing in Christ’s death. (Romans 6:4)
So what exactly does Christ’s death do for us?
Paul puts it this way in verse 6: “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”
“That the body of sin may be brought to nothing.”
Marinate in that thought for a second or three.
And what is the purpose of the body of sin being brought to nothing? This is really awesome, ya’ll—“So that we will no longer be ENSLAVED to sin.”
Shout it from the rooftops if you are hanging onto Jesus, “I’m FREE from sin!” And believing that fact, (Yes, it is a FACT if you are in Christ) is the key to the power of putting sinful deeds and desires to death in our lives. But this requires faith-action—a faith that acts.
Here’s how Paul puts it, he says we must “present” ourselves to righteousness. (v. 19) So, rather than holding hands with sin, we ought to hand ourselves over to obedience.
I think of my past, and how ashamed I am of how I once lived. I was acting in disobedience, but it was merely the natural fruit of a life yielded to sinful desires instead of to Jesus. And those deeds ended in death—Christ’s death. His was the only death—the only atonement—God would accept on my behalf for my debt of sin.
Meditating on the power of Christ's death and the love displayed through it, I am compelled from the heart to honor and obey the God who made my redemption possible.
And I’m thankful.
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit so worked in me to see my sinful state and my need for a rescuer. And I’m thankful God sent a rescuer who was capable of restoring me to fellowship with God, thus FREEING me from my sin.
Several years later after my camp experience, God gave me another opportunity to respond to the Gospel. My heart was tender and I yielded. I wanted to leave my sin behind and pursue righteousness—and God gets all the credit.
Though I’m not the picture of sinless perfection, I can firmly say I am not the person I once was. My desire is to obey the loving God who gave His son for me, and that is a gift of grace and not of me. At the end of the day, I’m just so thankful for a change of heart.
I’m thankful you are a God who is in the business of saving sinful people—of changing hearts to love obedience to You. Lord please encourage the dear one who has fallen. Remind them by your Spirit that You have paid the price. Lord help us keep getting up and “presenting” ourselves to you again and again. In Christ's name, Amen.
Blessings Soul Friends,
Today's blog is part of our #SoulDeep Scripture Reading Series : #EverydayThanksgiving
Posted in Soul Deep Scripture Tagged with #EverydayThanksgiving, Romans, grace
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