Change You Can Believe In

Published on January 3, 2011 by CT in Blog, Theology


Change is good. Except when it’s change for the sake of change.  Then it’s short-sighted, ineffective, and not entirely useful to anyone.

But real change, deep change, heartfelt change, individual change, is its own revolution. And I don’t mean to use the term revolution too lightly.  This kind of change is nothing short of a miracle.

Here’s what I have in mind when I talk about this kind of deep, heartfelt change.  Paul was a religious man who set out to destroy the church of God (so he hoped) in order to please God (so he thought).  And one day, he encountered Jesus.  Here’s what he said:  “Who are you, Lord?”

Paul goes on to be saved, begins preaching in the synagogue, goes to Arabia, goes back to Damascus, ends up in Jerusalem, and begins his missionary journeys.  Thirty years go by, and here is what we find him now writing:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better [than remaining in the flesh]” (Philippians 1:21, 23).

Since we have the whole Bible and know Paul’s story, we overlook this change as no big deal.  But the change here is stunning.

“Who are you, Lord?”


“My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”

So I wonder at what can produce this kind of change in a man.  I said earlier that this kind of change is a miracle, because a miracle involves the supernatural piercing the natural.  And that’s precisely what happened with Paul.  “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” (Galatians 1:15-16).

According to the testimony of Paul, it was the calling of God by grace through the revealing of His Son that changed him.  This was his miracle.  The Spirit confirms this through Luke:  “I am Jesus, who you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5).

And this is our miracle as well.  If God is in us and for us, then He has called us by His grace through the revealing of His Son as well.  “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).  And we are changed people because of it—may we never forget it!

Question:  How has God changed you most since He called you by His grace?

  • Mike

    My life transformation has been a slow, but continual, progression. I have been inspired through many of God's great teachers, writers, and preachers to involve myself more and more in the spiritual disciplines. The toughest change for me has been obedience to the word. Faith, which comes by consuming (hearing, reading, speaking) Gods word, without deeds (action and obedience) is dead faith. And God has been addressing my obedience over the years. By God's grace, I'm not where I was yesterday, but am not yet where I want to be tomorrow.

    • Chris_Tomlinson

      Mike, I love the patience and wisdom in your final sentence. I want that perspective as well.

  • Leigh Gilliland

    Chris, I always enjoy reading your work…it's just beautiful. I'm very proud of you!!!

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