The Pastor’s Desk

March 18, 2022

There may be times in our life when we feel the need for change. Things may not be going well.  It may be our job, our finances or perhaps our relationship with others.  Or perhaps it is a combination of all these.  But one thing is sure, if we continue on our current path, the future doesn’t look good.  So, we decide that we need a change.

The good news is that our Heavenly Father wants to help us.  God is in the process of creating a family, and He would like for us to be His sons and daughters (II Corinthians 6:18).  Furthermore, He wants to give us eternal life!  And in exchange for this, all He wants is for us to change our life—to build on His foundation.  To change our way of living and conform to His way of life. 

If we accept His offer by repenting of our sins and being baptized, He will give us His Holy Spirit as a down payment.  This is explained in Ephesians 1:13-14, where it says, “You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, [which] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.”

Because God wants us to be a part of His family, He is even willing to make a down payment for us.  And in exchange, we need to promise that we will change from living a life of sin to living God’s way of life.  If we choose to make these beneficial changes, the deal will close.

The Bible tells us that God gives His Spirit upon repentance and baptism.  In other words, it’s given when we accept God’s offer.  It is like accepting a contract; but in this case, we are making a covenant with God.  A covenant is essentially a contract.

Before accepting a contract, there are things we need to consider.  Do we really want to go through the effort of building a new house?  Can we afford it?  The same questions are true when we come into the faith.

The first question is, “Do we really want to change?”  Are we willing to sacrifice the ways of this world for God’s way of life?  Accepting God’s way requires living a whole new way of life.

Once we accept the offer, our life is to be lived according to God’s way of life; otherwise, we are receiving the grace of God in vain.  Our acceptance requires a whole new lifestyle, one that is based entirely upon God’s way of life and includes obedience to God’s laws.

After we decide that we want to build a new house or change the old one, the second question is, “Can we afford it?”  To accept God’s calling, we need to do the same thing.  We need to ask ourselves, “Can we afford it?”  We refer to this as counting the cost.

Jesus explained it this way, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? … So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-30, 33).

God expects us to be fully committed to Him.  It is a lifelong commitment; once we begin, we can’t just quit!  We know that God is willing and ready to help us as much as possible.  The Holy Spirit that He gives us for a down payment gives us the power to overcome.  God really wants us to be in His family!  But we must remember that the Holy Spirit won’t force us to do something against our will.  We can quench the Spirit if we are not careful.  God is willing to work in us, and He wants to do so, but some will reject God.

Paul wrote, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Timothy 4:1).  Others will have a form of godliness but deny its power (II Timothy 3:5).

As Christians, we should be striving for perfection, training ourselves to be intolerant of anything less than the highest standards of Christian living.  We may not reach perfection in this life, but we should strive for it.  To be committed to the faith, we must remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 26).  It only stands to reason that if a person truly believes in God’s Word, he or she will try to live by it.

This is what John explained when he wrote, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:1-3).

God has called us to come out of this world.  He wants us and has offered a contract in good faith for us.  He even gives us His Holy Spirit after baptism as a down payment, ensuring that we can overcome this world and be in His family.

But now it is up to each of us.  Will we do our part?

Mark Whynaucht