How many of you would like to change for the better? Perhaps there is something in your life that you have wanted to improve for some time, but you haven’t been able to succeed. Why? Maybe the reason is you haven’t fully committed yourself to the change.
Paul made a remarkable change in his life because, after seeing the risen Christ, he dedicated himself to being like Christ. I Corinthians 2:2 says, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Sounds like dedication to me!
If we are ever going to make any head-way and improve in those areas of life where we are weak, we must devote ourselves to being like Paul, who had devoted himself to being like Christ. Nothing short of a total surrender will bring about the desired change.
Andrew Murray has written:
Many of us would love to have sin taken away. Who loves to have a hasty temper? Who loves to have a proud disposition? Who loves to have a worldly heart? No one. You ask Christ to take it away, and He does not do it. Why does He not do it? It is because you wanted Him to take away the ugly fruits while the poisonous roots remained in you. You did not ask that henceforth you might give self entirely to the power of His Spirit. Do you suppose that a painter would want to work out a beautiful picture on a canvas which did not belong to him? No. Yet people want Jesus Christ to take away this tempter or that other sin while as yet they have not yielded themselves completely to His command.
Now there is a word you don’t hear every day! And yet it is a word that is used by Paul in Romans to teach us a wonderful truth. Paul says that God IMPUTES righteousness to us. Such an imputation is conditioned on our faith. The word “impute” means to reckon, to credit one’s account. For example, when you go to the bank and deposit money, imputation takes place. The bank credits your account with your deposit. That is what God does when you come to His Son in faith. He credits you as being righteous. This is good news! We who are unrighteous can become righteous and such is what we all need.
In Romans 4 Paul uses Abraham as an example of one who was counted as righteous. It was imputed to him or credited to him. Paul emphasizes that it was not by works, but by faith that Abraham was justified. One must understand that “works” as Paul used it there means works without faith, works of the law, works that would deserve a reward. In order for a person to be saved by works in this sense, he would have to keep every command of God perfectly. This is why no one is justified by the law. Abraham had sinned therefore, justification could only be by grace and not by the law of works. (Romans 6:14)
Today, you and I are justified, counted righteous when we by faith do what God has commanded. Faith is essential but it must be accompanied by obedience. When it is, God imputes righteousness to our account. Has your spiritual record been credited with righteousness?
In II Cor. 12 the Apostle Paul asked the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh”. Whatever it was it was a hindrance to him. He actually pleaded with the Lord 3 times that it might depart from him. However, the Lord answered Paul with these words: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness”.
I Cor. 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am and His labor toward me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” The greatest motivation of all to work for the Lord is to appreciate what He has done for you!