As I pursue strengthening my tools in witnessing, one of my weaker points is the reassurance of salvation to a fellow Christian who is struggling. In this writing, I am continuing with part 2 of 5 for the birthmarks of a Christian. This is taken from a sermon of Dr. David Jeremiah, where he list five birthmarks of a Christian, titled the Assurance of Salvation. With the first birthmark, I learned confession is a coming into an agreement with a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, and when this happens, something changes on the inside. One of my evangelist friends explains to others this way, “There was a person you once were, and there is the person you are now.” Something is different about the person you are becoming through Christ.
Dr. David Jeremiah expresses the change in four parts.
i. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. I Jn 2:29
ii. When you get saved, the Holy Spirit sets up shop in your heart. Something happens to you, you change. Most people are not changed a 180 degrees the first day. For some, it’s the Holy Spirit working on you little by little. You notice things begin to happen little by little in your life.
iii. You are being Transformed (a change from the inside out) not Reformed, a change on the outside.
Transformation: The Holy Spirit lives within your heart. He goes on a mission to make you holy, changing the way you live.
iv. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Cor 5:17
As part of my study on change, I want to understand how the Semitic mindset would view change. In order to do this, I will conduct ancient word studies, tracing back the Semitic roots to get a better understanding of a word or phrase. Once such word for change is found in Psalms 102:26:
Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
The Hebrew root word used for change in this passage is chalaph
80 30 8 = 118
This root word in ancient times meant a passing on, away or through. As a verb meaning Passover, to pass through or over something. It also means to change in the sense of going to another one, side, or thought. In the masculine form, it means to exchange for something else.
Esoterically, the root word can be broken down letter by letter to give us a deeper meaning. The first letter Cheth, represents a new beginning, the Lamed, for teaching, learning and purpose from the authority of God, and the final letter Pei, for freedom, as Jesus paid our price for sin, we are free.
My own personal experience with the initial change or transformation on the inside, I found is best described in Ezekiel 36.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
In concluding this writing, I think Adrian Rogers has a very uplifting sermon where he spoke of being changed “from glory to glory.” It is based on the following verse.
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Co 3:18
“Not only must you receive the image of Jesus; you must retain the image of Jesus. If you keep your heart fixed on Jesus, the image will not disappear. If you’re saved, your inner nature is Jesus Christ. And when you are transformed, that inner nature comes to the surface and you’re changed. You will continue to become more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ because you are a mirror that receives His image. And then, by continuing to behold the Lord Jesus, you will retain His image.” How to be like Jesus by Adrian Rogers