Finding New Beginnings- How To Start My Life Over
24″ X 24″ Acrylic on canvas
Lyn Deutsch 2007
There are certain periods in our lives that trigger us to serious introspection – thinking about life itself, its whole object, meaning and purpose. We look back, we assess our relationships, our careers, and we look at ourselves in the mirror only to find more years in our lives without really much life in those years. We come to a sense of inadequacy having not done what we should have done and at the same time there is a genuine desire for change and a resolve to do better. Unfortunately, our resolutions end up to be exact duplicates of the past ones.
Desperately we cry out for change – real change! Man’s search for change, a definite purpose and direction, a full life, true happiness, and lasting peace is the great theme of the Bible. You may argue. “Wait a minute, don’t start talking to me about God, or the Bible, or some kind of religion – I’m not interested! What’s this got to do with my problems right now? Can God pay my debts? Can He restore my marriage? Can he get me out of prison? Can He redeem my lost reputation? Can He bring back my son or daughter? Can He free me from this debilitating disease? I want something to help me here and now!”
Most of the time we face our problems and failures with the thought of immediate relief and freedom from its cares. A.W. Tozer wrote, “The average person in the world today, without faith and without God and without hope, is engaged in a desperate personal search and struggle throughout his lifetime. He does not really know what he is doing here. He does not know where he is going. The sad commentary is that everything he is doing is being done on borrowed time, borrowed money, and borrowed strength – and he already knows that in the end he will surely die! It boils down to a bewildered confession of many humans that they have lost God somewhere along the way… 1 “
“Our feverish activity is only one sign of what is wrong with us – sin has plunged us into the depths…” 2 The Bible is the only book that tells us the intrinsic problem of man and the only book that offers the perfect and only solution. It reveals to us God’s plan of salvation and the way to a meaningful, everlasting life which can begin today in your life. Apart from God’s Word we will all end up in the same state of emptiness and hopelessness. Jeremiah 13:23 asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?”
In verse 22, it asks the very question that most of us helplessly inquire, “Why has these happened to me?” The answer follows, “it is because of your many sins.” Galatians 1:4 calls this world and age ‘the present evil age’. This is the Bible’s first postulate, that this world and its people are in such a deplorable and utterly hopeless condition that the very Son of God had to leave the courts of heaven and come into this world in order to save it. Romans 3:23 states the fact that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Because of the sin of one man, Adam, we are all conceived in sin, shaped in iniquity, and doomed for eternal damnation. All our troubles, all our unhappiness and discontentment, all our ills and lack of meaning, are ultimately due to the fact that we have sinned against a Holy God. Our being sinners separates us from God and His wrath is upon us and upon this world. Isaiah 59:2 declares, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God”.
He is not blessing this world and those who are separated from Him. You can become rich and famous; you can invent the ultimate in technology; you can do a thousand and one thing, but there will never be peace while you continue to live a life apart from God. You may seek happiness but will never find it. Any change you make on your own are but superficial and futile attempts. You need to be transformed – made new from the inside. A. W. Tozer is right when he said, “Yes, everything is wrong until Jesus makes it right.”3
Who is Jesus? In Colossians 1:15-20, Paul rejoiced to present Jesus Christ of Nazareth in these great verses: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Colossians 2:9 further states, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” In other words, this is the message: that the Eternal Son of God has entered into this world; God becoming man, the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us, taking human nature, living and teaching, with all the miracles and manifestations of His power. And then the cross, the death, the burial, and the amazing fact of His resurrection, His appearances unto His people, His ascension into heaven!
That He is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, that Jesus Christ is God Almighty Himself, that He is the fulfillment of the prophecy, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” – which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Martyn Lloyd Jones said, “Christianity is Christ. And if He is not at the centre of all your thinking and experience you are not a Christian.”
4What matters, is not your view on a thousand and one question, but your relationship to Him. ‘All right, I have always known that. I was taught that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, but I don’t see what’s it got to do with my life now and to my whole course and purpose in this world. Where does Jesus come in?’ Consider John 3:16 when Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son’ – wonderful! But why did He do it? Oh – ‘that whoever believes in Him will not perish.’ Perish! That’s why, “warning every man…” (Colossians 1:28 KJV).
The danger is that of perishing in hell! God had made you and your world. Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, He created you for His own glory and purpose and you are accountable to Him. There is a final judgment, and we shall all be judged according to God’s standard. We men and women are not merely bodies with minds and certain amounts of reason. We have a soul created for eternity. And when we die, we will stand before God who created us, the Judge of all the earth.
Hebrews 9:27 states that, “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” A verdict will be delivered in that judgment. As a result of that judgment, all of us will go on either to spend eternity in heaven in the presence of God, in glorious existence and with the holy angels, or to spend it in hell in eternal misery and wretchedness. Your last chance is your last breath to say, “Lord Jesus I’m a sinner, save me!”
To a lot of people the reality of death and hell seems another millennium away. Yet we know so well that death is like a thief that stalks anyone at any moment. A man who dies without Christ goes to hell – a place of unquenchable fire, a place of memory and remorse, misery and pain, frustration and anger, a place of thirst, a place of undiluted divine wrath and separation from God, a place created for eternity for Satan and his hosts.
How tragic therefore, that the sinner will refuse heaven, the place prepared for all repenting men, only to eventually descend into hell, a place originally not created for him! A holy and righteous God cannot simply forego of sin without punishment. Nahum 1:3 states, “The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”. “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31).
Thank God our message does not stop at a warning. God in His Word does not leave man hopeless. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In God’s great love and mercy towards us, and according to His sovereign will and purpose, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to bear the punishment for our sins that whoever believes in Him will be saved.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). He is the only One who can bridge the chasm that separates us from God. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). God’s Word reveals only one God and One Savior. “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6). “apart from me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11). He came into this world to save us, because face to face with God we are all lost and condemned.
You might consider yourself a generally nice person and might even be doing religious or humanitarian works, but you are still a sinner. You have not done this, that and the other wrong action, no, but you have not lived to the glory of God – which is the very purpose of your existence in this life. “He did evil because he did not set His heart on seeking the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14). You are as damned as the greatest murderers or prostitutes.
The Son of God took on human nature in order that He might be our substitute, to appease God’s wrath and to reconcile us before Him. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1Peter 2:24). 1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
This is why the gospel is good news! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Here am I, lost – not knowing why I was even born – and damned, dying, facing God and knowing that I am going to hell, and I can do nothing about it. But suddenly I am told that God’s own Son has taken all my failure and guilt and shame upon Him, has taken my punishment, has died my death, and thereby satisfied the demands of God’s Law and Justice, and God is ready to freely forgive me.
Salvation cannot be attained by any good works or religiosity on your part. You cannot inherit it either. It is all about grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). You become a Christian through God’s unmerited gift to you not as a result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice or act of service to God and others on your part. Justification is by faith alone. Paul states in Romans 1:17 “The righteous will live by faith”.
Saving faith is not mere intellectual assent to the historicity of Christ. James says in 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” Salvation is God’s act of love and grace in your heart, wherein by the power of His Holy Spirit convicts you of sin and gives you the faith to surrender your life to Jesus Christ in exchange of His life in you, trusting the sufficiency of His work on the cross that paid for the penalty of your sins, and believing that He resurrected and is an Ever-Living God and Savior.
All we are called upon to do is to repent, to realize that we are sinners, to acknowledge and confess it to God, and believe the message concerning Jesus Christ. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” (Acts 16:31). ‘I don’t understand; I am tossed about with many conflicts and doubts.’ “Come” He says, “as you are. I am not asking you to understand, I am asking you to believe.” That is all.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:18). “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10).
Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus is our direction, the most tangible expression of God’s will and purpose for us, and the only source of a fulfilling life. Being a Christian is not to have a nice comfortable feeling inside you but to enter into the kingdom of God. It starts in this world: by believing in Christ you enter into His kingdom. It is to be taken out of that horrible pit of darkness and sin, shame and evil, out of a life of empty pursuits and self-glorification, to begin to live a new Christ-centered, purpose-driven life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Can there be any greater change than from sinner to saint? From death to life? The Bible assures every genuine believer of God’s unilateral forgiveness and eternal salvation. Jesus said in John 10:27-28 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” Is the voice of God familiar to you? Do you heed His word? Then nothing can separate you from Him. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
We are in this old, troubled, decaying world where wars, sin, corruption, and bloodshed confront us everyday. Throughout the last millennium, men and women have been trying to improve it and make it a better place, but it gets worse and worse. Is there no hope? Well there is. Not from the human standpoint, but from the standpoint of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not merely come into this world to save us as individuals, but to reconcile all things unto God, which are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.
2 Peter 3:10-14 gives us a clear picture of what is to come, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”
The object of the gospel is to prepare the people who believe this message for heaven and for this glory that is coming. We are not merely delivered from the guilt of sin; we are delivered from its power. This is the message of Christianity. It is for every man. What about you? Have you heard the warning? Have you realized that you have to die and face God in the judgment? Have you repented? Have you believed the teaching concerning the Lord of glory, who came down to earth and died for you? Have you completely ceased to rely upon yourself and your good works, your religiosity and your good ideas and all your good motives? Are you trusting entirely and only to what the Son of God has done for you?
And believing that, are you preparing for the glory that is coming? Those who have heard and believed the warning, those who have accepted the teaching, those who believe that the Son of God so loved them that He left heaven and literally died that cruel death for them, are the people who say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). These are the people ablazed with the divine purpose to walk intimately with God, guided by a different trumpet, carefully treading the path of righteousness, experiencing the deepest joy and peace that surpasses understanding, and having the unquenchable hope and faith of a glorious prospect!
Now, let me ask you a few questions… “How are you? Are you a professing Christian? Are you enjoying spiritual fellowship with God, with Christ and with fellow believers? Are you reading the Bible or hungering to hear the Word of God? Do you have a sensitivity to sin? Everyone who names the name of Christ or calls himself ‘Christian’ should depart from iniquity. True repentance is a perpetual turning from sin and being filled with the Holy Spirit bearing the fruit of righteousness. Are you basically obedient to the commandments of Scripture? 1 John 2:4 states, “The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” What is your attitude toward the world and its values?
The faith that saves finds satisfaction in Jesus and gradually weans away from the enslaving addictions of sin and worldly lusts and pleasures. Are you experiencing answered prayers? Are you thanking God and praising Him for everything – seeing His hand in every circumstance of your life? Do you love Jesus, delighting in His presence, and looking forward to His coming?
Finally, if you die today, are you sure that you are going to heaven? If you are not absolutely certain and if you do not know, you are definitely going to eternal damnation in hell. Read carefully and prayerfully this proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
You must have a Bible. Look up and read the passages cited in this message allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you. I pray that my God out of His love and mercy may bring you into His kingdom today and claim you for Himself. My hope lies not from the freedom of your will but from God’s sovereignty and His abounding grace and mercy.
God bless you!
A. W. Tozer, Renewed Day by Day, compiled by Gerald B. Smith, (Christian Publications, ©1991), January 3 2 Ibid., January 1 3 Ibid.
4 Martyn Lloyd Jones, Love So Amazing (Elizabeth Catherwood and Ann Desmond, ©1995), p.15
All Scripture verses except Colossians 1:28 were quoted from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978,1984 by International Bible society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Colossians 1:28 quoted from the HOLY BIBLE, AUTHORIZED (KING JAMES) VERSION. Copyright © 1978.
24″ X 24″ Acrylic on canvas
Lyn Deutsch 2007
Original painting available for sale.