We are all wired with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. We all want to be world-changers. In this pursuit to find what good we can bring to this world, we go through an incredible journey of change.
This journey of change really begins with getting to know our Creator and who we are created to be. In doing so, we become aware of our insufficiency before God and how perfect he really is. Our natural response is to strive to live a righteous life by performing good deeds — looking after the sick, giving to charity, campaigning for "good" political causes, and so on. But good deeds, while commendable, are not enough to reconcile us to God.
Reconciliation can only come through Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:13 says that "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us."
It is only when we receive this redemption through faith that we are made right with God. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast."
Theologians often use the words justification and sanctification when talking about the change that takes place within us when we accept the truth of the Gospel. Justification refers to the fact that Christ's righteousness is credited to those who believe in him. Sanctification, meanwhile, refers to the lifelong day-to-day process whereby a life is transformed into the likeness of Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit.
We can only hope to be imperfect imitators of Christ in this lifetime, but as we become more aligned with him we begin to experience freedom from the thoughts and feelings that once oppressed us. We feel compelled to serve each other selflessly and love each other unconditionally, not out of fear of displeasing God but out of the sense of joy that comes from knowing that we are forgiven and that we are now children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). We love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19).
When we begin to experience this transformation, our purpose here on earth becomes transcendent. We start to sow joy into lives around us through the body of Christ with eternity written on our hearts. We begin to realize that people are the only treasure that can accompany us to heaven. We attempt great things for God which will fail without Him. Our lives move from being 'self-centered' to 'other-centered’.
If you want to know more about this process of change, I would encourage you to listen to C3 Mumbai's latest sermon series, The Journey. All four parts are available on SoundCloud, YouTube or listen below.