Hope for Change When Hope Seems Lost

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
- John 10:27

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
- Philippians 2:12,13

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
- Colossians 3:1-3

“All my hope is naught save in Thy great mercy. Grant what Thou dost command and command what Thou wilt.”
- Augustine, Confessions, Book 10:XXIX

“Therefore, just as Adam did not die for himself alone, but for us all, so it follows that Christ, who is the antitype, did not rise merely for Himself. For He came to restore everything which had been brought to ruin in Adam…. The cause of death is Adam, and we die in him; therefore Christ, whose function it is to restore what we have lost in Adam, is the cause for life in us.”
- John Calvin, quoted in Calvin and the Atonement by Robert Peterson, pp. 61, 62

Dear Friends,
If you’ve ever experienced the gnawing low-grade discouragement of besetting sin you may have asked the question, ‘Will I ever change?’ Or you may have wondered if there is any hope for the nagging patterns of sin in your spouse, friends or children. The power for real and lasting change is resident in the objective reality of the person and work of Christ. Let me say it a different way - real and lasting victory over sin is achieved only through trust in Christ’s objective victory over sin. Christ achieved real victory over real sin. The frequent encouragement in Scripture is towards certain behavior, but that behavioral change is always rooted in the person and work of Christ in His real, historical, objective, and effective victory over sin. Theologians have called this the indicative (that which is objectively true) and the imperative (that moral action which God requires). The imperative of gospel behavior is rooted in the indicative of gospel truth. God declares something so based upon His righteous action, and right behavior is a moral action based upon this declaration and action of God. In other words, what God has accomplished in an historical event and has declared to be so is the impetus of my obedience. I work out my salvation because God has already worked and not vice versa. This gives true hope for gospel change.

Join me in thanking God today for His indicative that enables His imperative.

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