Changing Our Ways
By Hal Lindsey
If you know about Gunsmoke radio, you’ve either been around for a while, or you’re a fan of old-time radio. In one episode of the program, Matt Dillon (played on the radio by William Conrad) saw two things in one day that he could only think of as miracles. At the end of the show, he says, “Chester, I’m gonna change my ways.”
“Change my ways” is an old expression, not used much anymore. But the concept remains common. A person recognizes his sinfulness before God and decides to make some changes — make himself worthy of God’s approval.
But it doesn’t work. I’ve said many times on television and on this website that we cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus can do that. He died for our sins. Isaiah 53:11 is a prophecy about Messiah Jesus. It says, “The Righteous One… will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.”
You’ve probably heard it before. Jesus alone can justify us before God. What we sometimes forget is that it doesn’t end there. As the phrase “born again” implies, we have a lot of growing to do after it happens. A big problem is that we still struggle with sin.
Several passages in the New Testament talk about the “old man.” That’s a reference to our old sinful natures. We still need to deal with it. But after we’ve been born again, we have infinitely superior ways of dealing with sin.
For instance, we have God’s word. Psalms 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
We also have the Holy Spirit at work within us. Galatians 5:17-18 says, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
That same Holy Spirit works in us to provide what the Bible calls “fruit.” Look at Galatians 5:22-25. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
In John 16:7, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our “Helper.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 says that the Spirit sanctifies us. And 2 Corinthians 3:18 says He is transforming us into the image of Christ.
Please understand that we are not saved by changing our ways. But when we are saved, we can expect help in dealing with sin. Treasure God’s word in your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit’s presence and power into your life. And expect some wonderful changes.