DEAD TO SIN, ALIVE TO GOD(Questions 88-90)
But if you aren't looking at life in a new way, if you are still the same old person you used to be, then pay close attention to this lesson in the catechism. For in this lesson we are going to learn what it means to be converted, or changed into a child of God.
Q88. How many steps are there in turning to God?
Q89. What is dying to sin?
Q90. What is being alive to God?
Let's review why we do good works. First, to show God that we are thankful for Him saving us. Secondly, so we have assurance that we are really saved. And third, so others may see our good works and give God the glory. In this lesson we want to look more closely at the day to day walk of being a Christian. The process of dying to sin, and becoming alive to God.
The Bible uses strange examples to show what a Christian is like before and after he is saved.
You can see in these examples that the change that is made in the Christian after they are saved is immense. It is a complete opposite from what we were before God moved on us. But if we are honest with ourselves, we dont see this big change in our lives very often. Most of the time we still feel like we are dead, even though the Bible says we are alive. Many days we don't feel like we're children because we know that we have acted more like enemies. So how do we know if we are really saved or not?
The answer lies in our attitude towards sin and also our attitude towards God. When we are saved, it will force us to look at ourselves and our sin in a brand new way. Before we sinned because everyone else did or because we were used to sinning. But now that we are saved we shouldn't feel so comfortable about sinning. We should fight it with all of our might and do our best not to return to those things that tempt us to sin. Look at this list of sins that we should fight or "put off" once we become Christians:
As we have said many times before, maybe you are trying to put off these things but are having a rough time at it. That's okay. The point is that you are at least trying to fight and that in your mind you know it is what you should be doing.
On the other hand, as we die to sin, we should become more alive to God. When we see how evil our desires really are, and how God could judge us at any moment if He wanted to-but instead He has blessed us with so many good things-eternal life, forgiveness of sins, adoption-all these things should cause to feel thankful. Or as the catechism puts it-to have gratitude. We should want to obey God not because we have to but because we want to!! It's not enough to know all the facts about God and the Bible in your head, it also has to get to your heart. Let's look at that same passage of Scripture we looked at earlier. But instead of "putting off" lets see what we should "put on".
So in simple words, being a Christian is "putting off" some things, and "putting on" others. We put off sin, our old ideas of what is right and wrong, and we put on righteousness, holiness and begin to obey what God says is right and wrong. In this way we will die to sin and become alive to God. It won't happen overnight! As a matter of fact, the Bible says this process will take a lifetime. But through the whole of it, the entire journey, God has promised never to leave us or to forsake us.