Keys to the Kingdom

“The Good Shepherd”,  Original Artwork by Nathan Greene, ©, All Rights Reserved, Used by Permission

“Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths, and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

“Your New Moon festivals and appointed feasts,
My soul hates.
They have been a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

“When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
Even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood,
Wash and make yourselves clean.”
Isaiah 1:13-15

Keys to the Kingdom

Experiencing a new identity

Since sin infected Planet Earth, wicked hearts, awash in sin, sewed crops of hatred and reaped massive harvests of betrayal and death. Without God at the center of the human equation, sin’s wages opened a dead-end door to violence, deceit and extinction.

In the midst of Earth’s culture of corrupted characters, our Creator put His own life on the line to transform the most broken-spirited, failed human being into a new identity of victorious goodness. Our loving God will create “a clean heart and renew a right spirit” within even the most-vile, debauched, evildoer.

Saul of Tarsus, a zealous Jew of Roman birth, lived in the midst of the rule of an iron-fisted, tyrannical empire that massacred worshippers of the true God. To the shock of peers, the same, notorious Saul, chose to be “born again” and to follow Jesus, “the way, the truth and the life.” From that moment on, the ID of the miraculously transformed life of Saul would be: Paul, the Apostle.

Salvation can’t be earned by work. This remarkable transformation is God’s gift, by His grace. As long as you stay close to Christ, guided by the Holy Spirit, you will not be judged by the occasion good or bad deed, but by the direction taken. A born again Christian is always covered by Christ’s robe of perfect righteousness. It’s a win/win guarantee for any sinner.

It was Jesus himself, who intervened in the life of Paul, reversing the negative trajectory of his life. The same Jesus, invites all humans to experience the same, “born again” transformation by asking the Holy Spirit to redirect and rebuild a shattered, gone-astray life. “For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5

Heaven’s gates swing open wide, 24/7, once the “born again” person recognizes and repents a trail of sin and asks God’s forgiveness, the seed of faith is planted in the heart and the transformation takes over. The converted sinner senses a breathtaking relief that all past sins have been scrubbed from the record. Having chosen the new ID, the new person begins a new journey, walking in footprints carved by Jesus Christ.

From that moment on, the Holy Spirit shapes the storyline, inspiring a victorious life, growing in grace. The new Christian experiences a radical personality transformation that intuitively reacts with a lifestyle shinning with joy, “abundant” living, and an “peace that passes all understanding.”  The new Christian’s personality astounds family, friends and neighbors with its like-ability factor and attractive resume of goodness.

Paul, a living, walking, breathing example of a transformed human life, described the intuitive character traits being built into all born again Christian lives, including his own.

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12,13

Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death, paid the penalty price for the wages of the sins of all humankind from every race, nationality and era lived on Planet Earth. Thanks to this gift of love, all “born again” Christians have been awarded the keys to the promised land waiting in God’s Everlasting Kingdom of Heaven.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” II Corinthians 5:17 “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12

Warren LeRoi Johns

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