So far, Jeremiah has been largely about God's displeasure with the Israelites. Verses 3 -7 tell how they can change their ways and stay in the land given to them. The same thing applies to us as we seek to spend eternity with Jesus.
If we listen to Him, God will guide and direct our every move. Sometimes, though, we allow the things of this world and all of the "noise" that makes up this world to distract us and keep us from hearing our heavenly father's direction (verse 13). It was the same 3000 years ago as it is today.
Jeremiah really stresses how serious God is about his commands to us. Serious about following His direction, serious about loving others, serious about being caring and compassionate, serious about bringing His story to those with whome we walk this earth. We all know those great Christians examples who live what we can only describe as "supernatural" lives here on earth. We all admire them. I am learning that that is exactly the life that we're all called to. Fortunately, we are all blessed by the grace of a Father who loves us dearly and wants us to spend eternity with Him. He understands that it is a journey and he continually works ot mold us into what we should be here on earth.
It's easy sometimes to think that, though, that even though we accept Christ and strive to live as good disciples here on earth, there is still some magical additional transformation that takes place in our soul once we die and are in heaven. However, fact is, we are all called to accept and totally live out that complete transformation in Christ here one earth, not to wait for some additional magical "above and beyond" transformation after death. God gives us all that opportunity here on earth. What will we do with it?
This morning I received an emailed devotional from Steve Troxel of God's Daily Word Ministries which includes some great scriptural references to the life transformed in Christ. I will post it below.
The Word is clear: only those who have been born of the Spirit by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin, will be given eternal life. But something as important as eternity begs another question: How do we know when we have been born again?
1 John 5:11-13
"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
John wrote this first letter to define the changes which ought to take place in the life of a Christian. The believers understood that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). They knew "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). They had been told the importance of turning from their sin; "repent, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out" (Acts 3:19), and they clearly understood the significance of Jesus' death on the cross; "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood" (Romans 3:25).
The believers knew it was through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus that they were forgiven and transformed by His Spirit; but, though they knew the process, they still wrestled with knowing if they were saved.
John provided several indicators of a life which truly believes in Jesus. He said those who are born again will obey the commands of God (1 John 2:3-5), and will not continue to live in sin (1 John 3:9). He said a born again life is characterized by love: "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers.
Anyone who does not love remains in death" (1 John 3:14). John also said our love should not just be with words, "but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18).
The born again transformation occurs in our heart and spirit, but John is saying that becoming a new creation ought to result in change. We are not the same! And while the growth of many new creations can be painfully slow, over time there ought to be some form of fruit - all healthy creatures grow!
But if the evidence of being born again is missing, please remember that we cannot generate change by trying harder. Self effort never produces eternal life. Rather, we must return to the cross and consider the darkness of our sin and the brilliance of His love; "we love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:9). For only at the cross is there forgiveness and the power to transform. Let's truly receive the forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus and live with a victorious assurance that we are born again. Let's trust the truth of His Word, which has been given into our hands so we may know.