Two friends drug him down. It started with watching mediocre movies and descended into pornography. Sambo felt miserable and tried to rationalize his actions against a brighter conscience. He felt trapped until one night he listened to his father, Titus, preach a message he’d heard countless times. On this evening in December of 1994, God’s Word pierced Sambo’s heart. He felt the potent pull of the Holy Spirit. Tears filled his eyes and plunged downward washing away built-up shame. Later that night he repented of his sin and honestly asked Jesus to become His Lord and Savior. Lingering guilt was replaced by enduring peace. Love came and filled a 14-year-old boy in Trivandrum, India.
2 Corinthians 5:17--Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.
Spiritual newness is not gained through church attendance or affiliation, deserved by birthright, inherited by papal pronouncement or earned by good deeds. We can make fresh resolutions but declarations and improved performance will not induce the Holy Spirit to take up residency in us. Even the best-intentioned sinner is still just that! Spiritual transformation comes through God’s application of mercy. Jesus said, “He said, “. . . no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father” (John 6:65). Oswald Chambers wrote in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, “No amount of determination can give me the new life of God. That is a gift; where the determination comes in is in letting the new life work itself out according to Christ’s standard.” The reason so many people miss Jesus’ grace is that they are determined to earn God’s favor through their own effort and on their own terms—an impossibility. Human effort merely calcifies the very nature God abhors.
To be new is to be repentant. The paradox of spiritual life is dying to self. For Sambo it meant death to watching illicit movies and the termination of time with unprincipled teens. Sambo’s remorse was insufficient for killing his old nature. Remorse drops tears for getting caught. It may even cry while the rest of the body engages in wrongdoing. Repentance cannot condone compromise. It requires change and necessitates divine power to overcome a nature bound by dirt.
If we remain committed to following (obeying) Jesus our new nature is preeminent, glorifies God and emits a luster the Father uses to draw others to Himself. Today, Sambo radiates newness. His passion for worship warms the hearts of those around him who sense the Spirit and are left with something to think about . . . in reveration.
The putting on of the new man means that we must not allow our natural life to dictate to the Son of God, but see to it that we give Him ample chance to dominate every bit of us.—Oswald Chambers in The Psychology of Redemption
©2004 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)