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Your answer to my question will reveal your view of the doctrine of sanctification, mainly how you view the process of change in a believer’s life.
There is only one right answer to my questions. It is a definite yes! There cannot be any other answer. And you must believe the answer is yes if you’re going to think rightly about the process of change in a believer’s life.
I’m not saying that person will change. This concept about transformation is not for the unchanging person but for those who associate with the individual caught in sin. I’m speaking directly to you about the non-transforming person.
God has faith in the process of change in a Christian’s life. You know that the Lord will complete the process that He started at the point of salvation.
Look at Paul’s “faith for the process” of change in the rowdy Corinthian Christians. They were sinning their brains out. Many folks in that church body were dysfunctional. Sin was around every corner, and many of them were going headstrong into their licentious lusts.
It was an awful church context with many erring brothers and sisters, but before Paul brought his corrective care to this erring bunch of believers, he said the following.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).
Do you feel Paul’s faith “for the process of change” in these erring brothers and sisters? Paul not only loved them, but he had faith in God for them. You can sense his affection, care, love, and confidence that God was going to do good things for them.
Examine Paul’s attitude from what he said to the Corinthians and compare his “faith for change” with your heart as you think about the unchanging person in your life. Here are Paul’s words again.
I’m not suggesting your struggling friend will change today or within your preferred timeline. It may be decades before he (or she) experiences all that the Lord has for him entirely.
But the question that I’m asking now is not about his inevitable change. I’m asking if you believe in the faithfulness of God to finish what He starts, no matter how slow that process may be.
I am not centering my questions on what might happen or what you hope will happen to them, but I’m speaking exclusively about the condition of your heart as you think about an unchanging Christian.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).