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2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

The Word tells us that we become new creatures once we are saved. However, I’ve met quite a few Christians who have grown very slowly. As well, I’ve met Christians who are “old in the faith” but in numbers only – not because they have spiritually matured.

We can only mature as Christians when we yield our sinful nature to the Holy Spirit. He is the only One who can change us; however, He won’t force this change upon us. Once we are saved, we are sealed – we are promised eternal life in Christ – and we become sons of God.

~Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

~Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

We must be led by the Spirit of God for without His leading, we continue to manifest the works of the flesh – the worldly lusts – and, therefore, we sin. However, when we follow His leading, we yield ourselves to Him and are able to resist the devil and his temptations to sin. This yielding involves us staying close to God and cleansing ourselves. (James 4:7-8) It takes action on our part, a yielding to the Holy Spirit, to becoming “new” creatures. When we listen to Him, He shows us what must be “fixed” in our spiritual lives.

1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Yield to the One who can make a change
In a cold and sinful heart.
Obey His call and submit to Him
Only then will sin depart.

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~Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Everything changes around us. Styles, interior decorating, moral standards – but our spiritual lives should not follow the ways of the world. Churches are changing their services to accommodate the new generation. The old hymns, which make us aware of our sinful nature, are replaced with contemporary worship music which take our minds off our sin and make us feel like we are ‘right with God,’ when in actuality we are sinners in need of hearing how to get our hearts right with Him.  The bibles placed in the pews have been removed and you now read verses on the screen at the front of the auditorium – most of the time they are not even the King James Version. This discourages a person from looking up verses in the Bible to confirm what the preacher is saying!  How can one make sure he’s not being fed man’s opinion instead of God’s holy word?

The old paths have been forsaken, reader!  If these changes are for the better, why then are there so many ‘professing” Christians acting and living like the rest of the world? There is hardly a distinction between the saved and the unsaved today! Is it any wonder the negative feedback received when a lost person hears the word ‘Christian’? Hypocrisy in the church is alive and well because of all the lost people who have been allowed membership! The world has entered the church’s doors and brought with it every vile sin along with it!

We need to return to the old paths spoken of in Jeremiah!  These old paths lead us to repentance of our sin and to a right relationship with God. Anything else is a road laid by the devil – and you can be sure that this path is smooth, appealing to the eye and the lusts of the flesh, and will lead you to think that you are “spiritually OK” in God’s eyes. God still requires repentance and salvation!

The Old Paths

I liked the old paths, when
Moms were at home.
Dads were at work.
Brothers went into the army.
And sisters got married BEFORE having children!

Crime did not pay;
Hard work did;
And people knew the difference.

Moms could cook;
Dads would work;
Children would behave.

Husbands were loving;
Wives were supportive;
And children were polite.

Women wore the jewelry;
And Men wore the pants.
Women looked like ladies;
Men looked like gentlemen;
And children looked decent.

People loved the truth,
And hated a lie;
They came to church to get IN,
Not to get OUT!

Hymns sounded Godly;
Sermons sounded helpful;
Rejoicing sounded normal;
And crying sounded sincere.

Cursing was wicked;
Drugs were for illness;
And divorce was unthinkable.

The flag was honored;
America was beautiful;
And God was welcome!

We read the Bible in public;
Prayed in school;
And preached from house to house
To be called an American was worth dying for;
To be called a Christian was worth living for;
To be called a traitor was a shame!

Preachers preached because they had a message;
And Christians rejoiced because they had the VICTORY!
Preachers preached from the Bible;
Singers sang from the heart;
And sinners turned to the Lord to be SAVED!

A new birth meant a new life;
Salvation meant a changed life;
Following Christ led to eternal life.

Being a preacher meant you proclaimed the word of God;
Being a deacon meant you would serve the Lord;
Being a Christian meant you would live for Jesus;
And being a sinner meant someone was praying for you!

Laws were based on the Bible;
Homes read the Bible;
And churches taught the Bible.

God was worshiped;
Christ was exalted;
And the Holy Spirit was respected..

Church was where you found Christians
On the Lord’s day, rather than in the garden,
On the creek bank, on the golf course,
Or being entertained somewhere else.

I still like the old paths the best!

‘The Old Paths’ was written by a retired minister who lives in Tennessee.

Psalms 21

~1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! ~2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. ~3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. ~4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. ~5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. ~6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. ~7 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. ~8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. ~9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. ~10 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. ~11 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. ~12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them. ~13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.

Salvation is of the Lord, the Bible says. It is His to provide, not for me to work for. I cannot just blab it and grab it as is the popular ‘gospel’ preached from the pulpits today. It is popular teaching but those who grab on to this teaching are lost as lost can be. No where is there preaching on repentance to be found.

Salvation is God’s part but the repentance is my part. I can’t expect to receive salvation if I’m just going to continue living in the same sinful way.

But I digress. Today’s Psalm speaks of salvation and how it belongs to God, not man. Verse 5 says that man’s (King David speaking) glory is in “thy salvation.” I began to meditate on this thought. Searching the Word for other verses dealing with salvation belonging to God was enlightening, to say the least! Let me share my discovery and let’s see if you can receive the same blessing as I.

~Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

~2 Chronicles 20:17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.

~Psalms 21:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

~Psalms 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

~Psalms 68:20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

~Psalms 69:13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

~Psalms 78:22 Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:

~Psalms 98:2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

~Isaiah 52:10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

~Lamentations 3:26 It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

~Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

~Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

Since salvation belongs to God and He is the provider thereof, it stands to reason that His Son would be the payment for that salvation and His Holy Spirit would the One to woo the lost soul to that salvation through the Word. Once I came to a realization that I needed to be saved or else I would spend eternity in Hell, I knew that there had to be a change. I could no longer live the way I had been living. Today’s gospel does not preach it in this manner. They leave out the repentance and just claim that all I have to do is believe, pray a prayer and I am saved. However, the devils believe but that does not make them saved. What is left out of this equation is repentance.

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

The devils believe alright, and they tremble.  But does that make them saved?  The Book of James clearly outlines this salvation process in this next verse:

~James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

First we are convicted that we are sinners by the wooing of the Holy Spirit.  As a result, we realize we must repent from our filthiness.  Then we receive the Word of God which saves us.  It is the Word of God, that engrafted word, that saves the soul. I realized I was a sinner in need of God’s salvation and I needed to repent!

~Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

When I had been wooed by the Holy Spirit, my heart became ready to receive that engrafted word of God. I was then ready to hear the Gospel and understand it. The seed of truth took root in my heart and the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sins. It was then I knew that I could not continue to live as I had been living. Repentance was necessary for me to be changed. That seed has to take root in good soil – that prepared heart. Without it, I cannot grow and be changed into the image of Jesus Christ. I would still be that same old image that I was before.  If my heart was not ready to hear, I would not have the desire to repent.  In fact, I would be insulted to hear that I was a “sinner.”

Change can only be wrought if salvation is of the Lord and not of man. God finishes what He starts. He molds us, chastises us, and changes us into His image. God began the work with His salvation through Jesus Christ and will finish the work through His Holy Spirt.

~Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus Christ – my God, the provider of my salvation, the author and finisher of my faith! Praise be to God!

When a man is truly born again, he is different. His desire to remain in sin is no longer there. He no longer finds pleasure in sinning. The sinful life is no longer enjoyable. Instead, this desire and pleasure in sin is replaced with a desire to be more like Jesus Christ. Therefore, each time a true born again believer sins, it grieves him because he knows that he has failed. However, praise the Lord that our salvation is not based on our own abilities but by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is what is in our hearts that counts. Yes we will sin after salvation but it will not be a “way of life” for us like it was before salvation. The Bible explains our “newness” this way:

~Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

~Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

~Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

~Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

There is so much written in the Word about a new life for the believer. It is a wonderful Bible study and it opens one’s eyes on this issue of exactly what it means to be a born again Christian. It isn’t just a prayer-ette. It is a sincere acceptance of Christ’s saving power and a desire to change.

“Nothing puts life into men like a dying Savior.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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How great He is to bless you,
In a way beyond compare!
In a manner that’s so wonderful,
And that the two of you can share!

He’s blessed you with a grace unique.
No one else can claim this gift.
A baby possessing your qualities,
And your spirits He will lift!

Our Lord has loaned this child to you,
To love with all your heart.
To raise in His pure and simple way,
Right from the very start!

Rejoice and praise the One above,
For His great and wondrous deeds!
And be thankful that He’s always there,
To meet all your daily needs.

Kate Plourde

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