I must say, "To God be the Glory" and "What a joy!" To start every morning in His Word, in thoughts and prayers with Jesus, should be the Christian goal and then desire. Understand, the price that Jesus paid saves us from our sins. The due punishment we should receive has been laid upon Him. We must live this out now.
I like these verses in:
1st Timothy 1:15 "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life."
What must be understood is, we are already dead and in our graves when God rescues us. Only God can do this work. Two things which I did not realize as a new Christian, are the Sovereignty of God and a bodily conduct thought of, "To God be the glory". I sang it, but did not press to understand it, apprehend it and live it. This has come to me through time and to be sure, still, only in part. The disciplined preaching of the Word, via reformed doctrines, has made such a difference here.
You may have heard it said, "You have brain washed yourself into this" or "Man, have they brain washed you!" Of course the contender means this in the negative as something bad has happened to us but the contender may also be correct as to have your mind washed clean by God, by the Blood of His Son are truly the many moments that are the most cherished in the souls of Christians.
I have been in "Christian" churches where the Gospel is not preached and yet it is said, "they mean well". This is not well or good; it is horrific! I met a man at a church who sat every Sunday in that church since 1950. I attended this church for a short time. Asking him what did he count upon to enter Heaven, he flatly answered, "myself". From what I found out, he had been a good man and husband, a war veteran but he did not know Jesus Christ! "Was Jesus mentioned at this church?"; yes. "Was Jesus lifted up and worshiped as the Lord of God's Gospel?" no; sound doctrine, oh no.
Research and consider, how many have made the claim that they are God. Abraham did not make that claim; neither Mohammed or Buddha. There are some who have but they are dead and in their graves with no miracles to prove any of their boasts. Review other God's; have they spoken? No. There are other God's sought by others but
there is no substantiation of historical good works and changed lives. Look at the depth of the incredible testimony for Jesus. As Acts 4:12 states: "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Once that call has come upon your heart; you take an interest in the things of Christ; you meet Jesus in scripture and confess your sinfulness to Him, accepting His salvation; now, carefully step each step. You must find a good church to guide you!
Reformed doctrine is solid teaching. You must "settle" into your faith and this settling is accomplished by closeness to God's Truth. This closeness comes by multiple means; His Spirit, worship, the preaching of His Word, the reading of His Word, prayer and fellowship with other believers. You must be where God's Word is correctly preached and taught. You must be where God is worshiped. By these means God will strengthen your faith for His Glory. Tell the church leaders, "I am a new Christian". I want you to take those first steps toward the right church so that each of your steps can be guided. They will Baptize you and help you understand and take part in the Lord's Table.
God's Word can be clear and easy to understand and it can also be difficult to understand in exact meaning as God intended, and application to your life. What do we do with the passages we scratch our heads on? We seek our pastor and church elders to guide us. Besides our church, we have "the many great minds" of Christianity through the church age. This is Theology; understanding God and His Word; as much as man can. This can be dangerous as we look for "other" teachers as doctrine can be liberal and changing. This is why I point you to Reformed Theology. It is the pinnacle of theological contemplation and some of the most brilliant minds have settled here. They have steadfast teachings in the Westminster Catechism & Westminster Confessions of Faith. The WCF was boiled over by more than 120 clergymen in the 1640s; the process went on for years. More than any other theological branch of the church; Protestant Reformed Theology, seeks the truth using scripture to interpret scripture with historical knowledge. There is a system for this process an it is called "systematic theology". Though it's beginnings I believe, are as old as scripture itself; as man looked at all of scripture to understand scripture. Systematic Theology organizes biblical truths under 10 different headings such as "Christology" which, looks at everything the bible says about Jesus Christ. Systematic Theology does not just look at the "parts" but scripture in in consistency and completeness. Scripture is read in its context, understood in its context and also by what scripture says concerning this "topic" in other passages. Sounds logical right? Exactly.
Learning from my Error
The best advice I can give the new Christian besides all given; listen and learn, read and learn, keep quiet but ask questions, prepare your heart for Christ's Work. Scripture and brilliant minds in Christ's Church have done much work; seek after these reformed doctrines. After having my eyes opened by God to the truth of Jesus and His Gospel; I both clung to God and was frantic in my witness! I knew no theology and had no human teacher but The Holy Spirit was with me. I did not even know this fact for months, until I arrived at John 14 in my reading. I had such an experience of darkness and light when God's Grace came; I thought everyone I knew was headed to hell and pleaded with them to accept Jesus as God. That message is not bad but with no doctrines to back me up, how could I preach a "to God be the glory" calling to faith? It was literally said to me, "Christian, we think you have rolled off the turnip truck, maybe you should get some help".
The important teachings here are my faults; I started to listen to people. Maybe I was too strong? I knew no doctrine, little scripture; I had faith in Jesus and my confession to Him. I tried to operate an evangelism outpouring (just to who would listen); with no training and little biblical knowledge. As only based on emotion and little scripture; the outpouring was mostly emotional. The work of God is done by "God"; by The Holy Spirit and His Word. The Gospel belongs fully to God; it is His Gospel. I did not even know this simple truth. Emotions may help to convict, but with little scripture, there is little foundation to speak from. Much of Christianity today operates in a similar manner. We believe in "Jesus" but how is this belief anchored? How do we know what to say to others concerning Jesus at any particular point in our sanctification process? Before we speak, we must learn for God, from God by His Scripture and those He has given to help us. What a blessing to have great teachers now and from theological writings. Stand always on what you know. If it is "I believe in Jesus"; good, what is your verse that anchors that? Start there, memorize that verse and don't stop learning.
I remember one night, not long after my accepting Christ; it was in the wee hours of the morning. I was awake and The Spirit was with me; I went outside and looked at the sky; it boiled with thick, dark, low clouds lit by the town lights. My expectation of Christ's return bristled and filled me. "Are you coming?" I wondered. This "experience" could not be shared with others and thankfully The Lord gave me enough wisdom not to wake the household! A neat experience but how does this further God's work? Though I do anticipate the return of Jesus and pray for His return; I do not know the day or hour or would ever guess.
Here is a short song I wrote about my walk with Jesus; along with Psalms, I sing this to Him.
Blood of Jesus has set me free
I was sinner and walked without light
Even my day was dark as the night
I made my own truth by my own might
Lost in this world; no hope in sight
The blood of Jesus has set me free
His full atonement paid on the tree
I cry out to heaven “how can this be”
The grace of God has poured out on me
Now, my truth is the Bible and I read it each day
God’s Spirit lives in me lighting my way
“Jesus, He is the Christ” to all I say
I worship Jesus in church and in His name I pray
The blood of Jesus has set me free
His full atonement paid on the tree
I cry to heaven, “this is not of me”
The grace of God opened my eyes to see
If you have questions concerning scripture, conduct, doubts, you question what I have written or you want to say something to me; please send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org