When we come to Christ, we receive his forgiveness of all of our sins. Sometimes it helps to ask for forgiveness of specific sins and lifestyle choices. The apostles challenged their hearers with the following promise:
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19 NKJV)
That forgiveness is wonderful and refreshing.
We can receive healing from our sin if we will deal with it honestly. Jesus' brother reminded new Christians of this truth:
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)
We can forgive those who have hurt us in the past and receive healing from God for these wounds. We can be free from the pain and bondage of these hurts, but we must also learn a new way — more than just being forgiven from the past, we need a new way for the future.
Being healed from past hurts and sins is only the beginning. We must learn a new way of dealing with life and people. Paul challenged the Christians in Rome to be different.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Teen Challenge is an international program that deals with life-controlling problems — including, but not limited to, drug and alcohol abuse. The interesting thing about the program is that it lasts about 18 months for each student. Even though these individuals receive forgiveness and healing regarding their life controlling problems early on, the program sees the need to disciple them in the "new way" of living. Without learning a new way to deal with life and people many of these individuals would go back to their life controlling problems.
Let's seek forgiveness and healing, but let's also learn God's ways of dealing with life and people that comes with our conversion commitment:
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
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