12. We Need A Change
Many people do not want to change. They like their little self-centered world just as it is. They like running their own lives and are not interested in having Jesus Christ come in and take over. If they gave Him first place in their hearts, things would change--completely. The change would be greatly for the better, of course, but it would mean the end of selfishness.
And selfishness has so many little pets. Christ cannot save people as long as they refuse to let Him change them.
Usually people have to become sick and tired of sin before they are willing to give up to God. They wait until sin has wrecked and ruined them before they have had enough of it. And some hold onto their pet indulgences until death. How foolish! How much better it is to live for Christ from early life and let Him build a beautiful life than to bring the broken pieces of sin-wrecked years for Him to mend.
Yes, we human beings need a change, whether we realize it or not.
And some do realize it, but fail to understand what it is they need. What they do not know--or are unwilling to admit--is that they need a change of heart.
A change of heart, that is, a change in what one is ultimately living for, is the greatest possible moral change that can come to an individual. It is a new birth, a new life. This makes regeneration a total change, because a change of the supreme goal of living will produce a change in every part of living--actions, emotions, values, plans, preferences.
Most of all, it is a spiritual change. Being reconciled to God by faith in Jesus Christ, we come into a dynamic living relationship with the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
In other words, you see the dramatic effects of the wind, but you do not see the wind. Just so, you see in the life of the believer in Christ the results of the Holy Spirit's work, but you do not see the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, if we hear no wind, feel no wind, and see no evidence that any wind is blowing, it is likely that no wind is, in fact, blowing. Just so, if no evidence of a real change of heart appears in the life, it is likely that no real change has taken place.
And now, before bringing this book to a close, it is only fair to point out that Charles G. Finney said much more about the subjects we have explored than the few quotations that are cited here. Often he becomes very eloquent in developing his thesis.
We might not agree with all that Finney says. However, before his views on any point be rejected, fairness demands a careful study of his full treatment of the subject in his Lectures On Systemic Theology.
In our present exploration we have seen Paradise lost and regained.
Every unconverted person is in "death-row" right now, under the condemnation he cannot rid himself of.
But God in Christ took the sinner's place--my place, your place. It happened on a cross at the top of a hill just outside Jerusalem. Now God can safely and wisely pardon every one who will let Him do so. What must we do? Just accept it. That's all. But that involves everything. It means accepting the terms of the pardon: the surrender of the whole heart, renouncing all sin and receiving Jesus Christ by faith as Savior and Lord.
"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
Have you surrendered to God and accepted His free offer of pardon and eternal life through Jesus Christ? If not, do so right now. You will be glad that you did.