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Road maps are at times difficult to read. They become almost incomprehensible if we donít know where we started, where we are, and where we want to go. When we start to talk about a road map for change, we need to first talk about these issues.
When Christians talk about change, they usually do not focus on items such as career enhancement, wealth accumulation, or increasing comfort and pleasure. Christian maturity is their goalóthe destination of our faith walk.
Paul writes to the Christians in Galatia, about allowing the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in their lives. Our destination as Christians is to be fruitful in our lives and demonstrate the characteristics of God in our lives.
Another destination that Christians have is faithful obedience. In the early days of the Christian church, the Jewish religious authorities arrested Peter and John. They were imprisoned, interrogated, and threatened, before they were released. After their release, the Christians gathered and prayed. The subject of their prayer is recorded in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts. They do not ask God to take away the persecution. They ask God to enable them to be faithful and bold in their witness.
Christians have been called by God to be the light and salt of the world, the Body of Christ, the People of God, a royal priesthood, apostles and missionaries. These are our destination points, the lives God invites us to experience.
OUR STARTING POINT
When writing about our life in Christ, Paul starts out at our baptism. He writes in this sixth chapter of Romans that when we were baptized, we were baptized into Christís death. We often think of the waters of baptism as a cleansing agent. They are more than that. Water can kill, and at our baptism, we die with Christ so that we can also live with him.
Baptism is life transforming. It may transform significantly over a short period of time, or it may change imperceptibly over a long period of time, but Godís Spirit through baptism transforms lives. The old person in drowned in the waters of baptism and a new person arises.
Paul writes in the II Corinthians that if anyone is in Christ that person is a new creation. The old has past away and the new has come.
Change is not based on trying harder. It is founded on the fact that the old is no longer a part of our lives.
NO LONGER SLAVES
Paul reminds his Roman readers that they are no longer slaves to sin. By the cross and the waters of baptism, the chains of sin have been broken and they are no longer in bondage to sin.
Luther talks about the daily reality of baptism in our lives. He writes that through daily repentance and forgiveness, the old Adam is drown, so that the new Adam might arise and live with God in righteousness and purity forever.
∑ Living in our baptismówalking the road of changeómeans that we are open to the Spirit in our lives. We hear both Godís assurance of love and Godís condemnation of our sin.
∑ The writer of Hebrews writes that the Word of God is a two edged sword, which pierces the division of soul and spirit. The Spirit of God uses Godís Word to both convict us of our sin and convince us of our savior.
It is the Holy Spirit that enables, and empowers us to walk the path of faithful obedience and
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