Christianity, when accepted, internalized, and practiced, changes people. Change begins with repentance, even before one rises from baptism’s death and burial (Rom. 6:3-6). The religion of Jesus Christ embodies change. People involved in the worst of sins are forgiven and changed in the Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2), we thus become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) who laid aside the old self and put on the new self (Eph. 4:24; Col. 2:9,10). Anyone claiming to follow Christ yet remaining unchanged is either deceived, a deceiver, or both. C.S. Lewis wrote,
If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions–if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before–then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary: and after one’s original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better. (Mere Christianity, p. 172)
Rowland Hill put it this way: “I would give nothing for that man’s religion whose very dog and cat are not better for it.” Christians are, by description, a changed people preaching a gospel that changes.
Change, however, does not end with conversion, it only begins. It requires putting on the characteristics of Jesus: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, etc. We “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.(2 Pet. 3:18)” We strive to be better spouses, children, students, workers, and servants. The child of God has never arrived but is on a life-long journey toward holiness. As we bring others along, the world becomes a better place. Would you like to come with us?