Jesus changes lives

The message of Christianity is one of personal transformation.  The radical claims of Christ are the hope of forgiveness, reconciliation and new life.  The Bible promises the following:
2 Corinthians 5:17
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Romans 5:1-2
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
Ephesians 2:4-6
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
One of the most compelling reasons for people to believe in Jesus Christ is because He promises to change their lives.
An example of this is found in Luke 19. This passage records the story of Jesus’ encounter with a man named Zacchaeus.   Zacchaeus was a tax collector, one of the most despised professions of the day.  Tax collectors leveraged the clout of Rome to rip people off of not only their legitimate taxes but also any additional money they could extort.  The story describes that Jesus came to the town where Zacchaeus lived.  Being a short man, Zacchaeus climbed up a tree to make sure he got a good look at Jesus when he passed by.  As Jesus walked by where Zacchaeus was perched, he stopped, looked up and addressed the man in the tree: “Zacchaeus come down for today salvation has come to your house!”  Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus completely changed the direction of his life.  Luke 19:8 records the words of Zacchaeus to Jesus, “8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”  Before meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus was a selfish money-hungry tax collector.  After meeting Jesus, he was generous, concerned for the poor and desirous of making restitution to anyone he had wronged.  Jesus changes lives.
Probably the most powerful example of the life changing power of Christ is found in Christianity’s greatest antagonist and proponent, the Apostle Paul.  Acts 9 describes the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.  Saul was a Pharisee, trained in all the intricacies of Jewish Law.  He was so zealous for his religion that he felt duty bound to persecute those whom he deemed as heretics and blasphemers.  It was this religious fervor that led Saul to hunt down, imprison and even preside over the execution of Christians.  On his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, Saul had an encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ.  Blinded and confused, Saul was led back to the city of Damascus.  There he met a man named Ananias who spoke to him about the way of Jesus.  Saul was converted to Christ and immediately began to speak publicly about Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God.  Acts chapters 13-28 describe the missionary journeys of Saul, who changed his name to Paul.  Paul wrote most of the New Testament and eventually died as a martyr because of his faith in Christ.  In his own words Paul said this in 1 Timothy 1:15-17,
 15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul lived with a daily appreciation for how Jesus Christ had changed his life.  The angry, driven and self-righteous Pharisee was transformed into a humble and influential Apostle of Christ.  Jesus changes lives.
How about you? Are you experiencing the life-changing power of Jesus Christ? God’s offer is open to anyone who would believe. 2 Corinthians 3:15-18 promises:
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Turn to Christ and ask Him to change your life.

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