the Church on the Hill
by G. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
IWhen we talk about what it means to be a Christian, many folks never move beyond the concept of the new birth. In other words, many people believe that Christianity is simply a matter of making a profession of faith and attending Church on a regular basis. Sort of like a fire insurance policy - say the right words, keep up the "payments" and that means that you're
free from the worry of hell. Certainly the Christian life has its beginning in the confession of sin and acceptance of the gracious offer of salvation through Jesus' shed blood. There is no work that we can do, beginning, middle or end, to effect salvation. Yet we cannot simply mouth the appropriate words and then go merrily on our way. Indeed, it will not stop there if the new birth has truly taken place.
The Bible tells us that those who are truly born again in Jesus Christ will mature in Christ-likeness. That means that you will become more and more like Jesus Christ as the years roll by. You will never be perfect and many times it will seem that you aren't making any progress at all. Nevertheless, as the old ways are done away with and the new man emerges,
there are several things that will take place in your life.
For instance you will find that you have a growing love for God's Word. You will find that you crave time in the Scriptures and relish the nourishment the Bible provides. Additionally, those born of God in Christ progressively embrace the Bible as the rule and standard for their lives.
You will discover that your love for the Lord God grows with time. Moreover, those who are born again possess an increasing joy and awareness of God's presence in their lives. Believers who are maturing in the Lord will eagerly spend time in prayer and fellowship with their King.
Also, people who experience the new birth will learn that they need the fellowship of other Believers. Those who have experienced new life in Jesus will typically view church attendance as a pleasure rather than regard it as a mundane duty.
Those who are born again characteristically experience a growing concern for the lost. This concern is often missed in the traffic of meetings and programs typical of so many churches - not to mention the busyness of modern life. Nevertheless, as our understanding of the new reality in Christ grows, our desire to see more and more people share it with us will grow as well.
In a nut shell, once you have taken hold of Jesus as your Lord and Savior, your whole perception of what is real and what is pseudo-reality begins to change. You are no longer a citizen of this world, but of the heavenly kingdom. Many of the things that used to be important to you will fall to the wayside and with time you will find that your life focus sharpens to little more than Jesus Christ and living to please Him. Without a doubt, that encompasses the whole of life; but oh what a freedom and joy is available to the Christian who grows to the point of surrendering all things to Jesus!