One of the most wonderful effects of the gospel (the message about Christ) is how it changes the lives of many people.† Evil and cruel people become kind and gentle.† Selfish people become generous.† Thieves learn to do honest work.† The gospelís effects on the lives of people are entirely good (compare Matthew 7:17-20).
The Bible often refers to this change (for example 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:9-10).† Paul (formerly called Saul) knew it in his own experience (Acts 9:1-19; 1 Timothy 1:12-16).
However, we do not always see such a change when a person becomes a Christian.† Many people are already living in a sincere and right way, even before they hear the gospel (2:14).† They are honest about the wrong things that they have done - so, they are eager for God to forgive them.† When they hear Godís message, they receive it gladly.
We may see little change when such a person becomes a Christian.† There may be little that the person needs to change in his actions, behaviour or attitudes.† However, the reality is that God really has made a great change in that personís life (John 3:3-8).† It is a change in that personís spirit; Jesus called it to be Ďborn againí.
There is another reason why we may not see such a change in peopleís lives.† Many churches do not teach Godís message clearly.† Perhaps their leaders are afraid of the power of the gospel (1:16), or perhaps they are trying to impress people with clever words (contrast 2 Corinthians 4:2).† The result may be that few people become Christians.† However, perhaps people become Christians, but their trust in God is too weak; so they do not have the confidence to allow God to make great changes to their lives.
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© 2017, Keith Simons.